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Music

Samsung Reminds Us That You Can't Make People Use an App They Don't Want (recode.net) 67

Samsung has announced that it will be discontinuing Milk Music on September 22. The announcement comes a year after the South Korean technology conglomerate shuttered Milk Video, another service that didn't receive the traction Samsung was hoping. Peter Kafka, writing for Recode: It's true that you can't get media/apps/services to customers without access to a platform. But control of the platform doesn't mean customers are going to use your media/apps/services: They've got plenty of choices and they'll choose the ones they want. Ask Verizon and Comcast, which both launched video apps on their networks last year and have nothing to show for it. (You've heard of Verizon's Go90 only because Verizon keeps talking about it when people ask why it spent $10 billion on AOL and Yahoo; you have completely forgotten about Comcast's Watchable.) Soon you'll be able to ask AT&T, which is launching its own video app this fall, which will also feature lots of content people either don't want or can get elsewhere.
Robotics

'We're Just Rentals': Uber Drivers Ask Where They Fit In a Self-Driving Future (theguardian.com) 365

Bloomberg reported on Thursday about Uber's plan to bring its first fleet of self-driving cars to Pittsburgh as soon as this month, a move that has since been confirmed by the cab-hailing company. Amid the announcement, Uber drivers are disappointed at Uber, wondering what the future of the company lies for them. The Guardian reports:"Wo-o-o-o-w," 60-year old Uber driver Cynthia Ingram said. "We all knew it was coming. I just didn't expect it this soon." For Ingram, autonomous Ubers are an unwelcome threat to her livelihood. "I kind of figured it would be a couple more years down the line before it was really implemented and I'll be retired by then," she said. A paralegal with 30 years experience, Ingram began driving for Uber and Lyft in June 2015 when she lost her job. She said that she loves driving for Uber, though she has struggled to make ends meet. Rob Judge, 41, was also concerned with the announcement. "It feels like we're just rentals. We're kind of like placeholders until the technology comes out." A longtime customer service representative, Judge began driving for Uber three months ago to make money while he looks for other work. "For me personally, this isn't a long term stop," he added. "But for a lot of other people that I've connected with, this is their only means."
Media

Gawker.com To End Operations Next Week (gawker.com) 133

After nearly 14 years of operations, Gawker.com will be shutting down next week, the company's outgoing CEO Nick Denton told the staff Thursday. The decision comes days after Univision said it would buy Gawker Media properties -- Gizmodo, Jezebel, Kotaku etc (but not Gawker.com) -- for a sum of $135 million. The publication is currently in the middle of multiple lawsuits, with billionaire Peter Thiel revealing his clandestine legal campaign against the company. In a blog post, Gawker made the announcement. From the story:Nick Denton, the company's outgoing CEO, informed current staffers of the site's fate on Thursday afternoon, just hours before a bankruptcy court in Manhattan will decide whether to approve Univision's bid for Gawker Media's other assets. Staffers will soon be assigned to other editorial roles, either at one of the other six sites or elsewhere within Univision. Near-term plans for Gawker.com's coverage, as well as the site's archives, have not yet been finalized.
Intel

Intel To Manufacture Rival ARM Chips In Mobile Push 81

An anonymous reader writes: Chip maker Intel has entered an unlikely partnership with British semiconductor firm ARM in an effort to boost opportunities for its foundry business. The licensing agreement, which was confirmed at the Intel Development Forum in San Francisco, means that from 2017 Intel's Custom Foundry will manufacture ARM chips -- used by smartphone giants such as Apple, Qualcomm and Samsung. On the announcement of its latest earnings report, Intel was clear to highlight a shift in focus, away from the traditional PC market, to emerging areas such as the Internet of Things and mobile -- a sector dominated by one-time arch rival ARM. It seems that Intel has now decided to surrender to the latter's prominence in the field.
Microsoft

Microsoft Extends Again Support For Windows 7, 8.1 Skylake-based Devices (zdnet.com) 85

Microsoft says it is giving more time to users on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 devices running sixth generation Intel Skylake chips. Earlier the company had said that it would end support for such systems on July 17, 2018 (before that the end date was July 17, 2017). Today's announcement further pushes the deadline, giving Windows 7 users till January 14, 2020, and Windows 8.1 users till January 2023. ZDNet adds: Today's latest change to the Skylake support cut-off dates also applies to Windows Embedded 7, 8 and 8.1 devices. As of this latest change, supported devices running Skylake -- here's the list of PCs that qualify, along with embedded devices -- will get all applicable security updates for Windows 7 and 8.1 until the end of support dates for each product. What we don't really know is why Microsoft made this latest change. Did Intel "fix" Skylake? Did customers, especially those wanting to downgrade to Windows 7, complain a lot? The official word is "This change is designed to help our customers purchase modern hardware with confidence, while continuing to manage their migrations to Windows 10."
Communications

This Is What the World's Spies Used Instead of MSN Messenger (vice.com) 65

An anonymous reader writes: What do spies use to chat online? A terribly ugly Windows programme. At least, that's what the Five Eyes intelligence alliance (made up of the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada) was using back in 2003, according to a newly released Snowden document. "The Five-Eyes SIGINT [signals intelligence] Directors will soon be using a new tool to enhance their collaboration on subjects ranging from current intelligence objectives to future collection planning," reads an issue of SID Today, the NSA's internal newsletter, dating from September 2003. InfoWorkSpace (IWS), as the tool is called, allowed text chat, audio conferencing, shared screen views, and virtual whiteboards, the newsletter explains. It adds that, at the time, some 4,000 NSA and Five Eyes employees were already using IWS to work on a number of topics, such as international terrorism, real-time collection coordination, and Operation Enduring Freedom, the term given to operations in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2014. The newsletter announcement refers to SIGINT Directors gaining access to the tool. Another Snowden document published by The Intercept notes that senior officials held their first virtual meeting with IWS around December 2003, but that "GCHQ was unable to attend due to a computer failure."
Communications

Ad Board To Comcast: Stop Claiming You Have the 'Fastest Internet' (arstechnica.com) 101

The National Advertising Division (NDA) said on Monday that Comcast should stop claiming that its Xfinity service delivers the "fastest Internet in America," adding that the carrier should also discontinue some ads where it claims to offer the "fastest in-home Wi-Fi." ArsTechnica reports: For its fastest Internet claim, Comcast relied on crowdsourced data from the Ookla Speedtest application. An "award" provided by Ookla to Comcast relied only on the top 10 percent of each ISP's download results. "Although Xfinity offers a variety of speeds at a range of prices and tiers, Comcast's advertising does not limit its claims to a particular tier," the NAD's announcement said. "NAD determined that the claims at issue in both print and broadcast advertising reasonably conveyed a message of overall superiority -- that regardless of which speed tier purchased by a consumer, in a head-to-head comparison, Xfinity would deliver faster speeds." Though one methodology might be reliable for one purpose, "it may not be sufficient substantiation for advertising claims made in a different context," the NAD said. Ookla's methodology "wasn't a good fit for the purposes of substantiating Comcast's overall superior speed performance claim that 'Xfinity delivers the fastest Internet in America,'" the NAD also said.
Bug

Apple Announces Bug Bounty At Black Hat With Maximum $200,000 Reward (threatpost.com) 39

msm1267 quotes a report from Threatpost: Apple closed out Black Hat today with a long-awaited announcement that next month it will launch a bug bounty. The Apple Security Bounty will be an invitation-only program, open to two dozen researchers at the outset, said Ivan Krstic, head of security engineering and architecture. The maximum payout is $200,000 and five classes of bugs in iOS and iCloud are in scope. Apple said the maximum reward will be $200,000 for vulnerabilities and proof-of-concept code in secure boot firmware components. It will also pay $100,000 for the extraction of confidential material protected by its Secure Enclave Processor, $50,000 for code execution flaws with kernel privileges or unauthorized access to iCloud account data on Apple servers, and $25,000 access from a sandboxed process to user data outside that sandbox.
Databases

Pokemon Go DDoS Attacks Postponed As PoodleCorp Botnet Suffers Security Breach (softpedia.com) 97

An anonymous reader writes from a report via Softpedia: "The hacking crew [PoodleCorp] that promised to launch DDoS attacks on the Pokemon GO servers on August 1 suffered a major setback, after someone hacked their site, dumped the database, and shared it with data breach index service LeakedSource," reports Softpedia. "PoodleCorp responded to LeakedSource's announcement with what they knew best, a DDoS attack." When that happened, LeakedSource started looking at the leaked data and discovered full names for three of PoodleCorp's members, saying they intend to share it with authorities. Soon after, PoodleCorp stopped the DDoS against LeakedSource and went to annoy Blizzard gamers. "It's a terrible idea to attack a business that knows something about virtually everybody," a LeakedSource spokesperson said.
Google

Alphabet Will Begin Testing Project Wing Delivery Drones In the US (theguardian.com) 12

An anonymous reader writes: Google's parent company, Alphabet, has been granted permission by the White House on Tuesday to start testing its Project Wing delivery drones in the U.S. The Guardian reports: "The drones will be tested in one of six designated Federal Aviation Authority areas within the U.S. as part of the government's initiative to promote research into unmanned flight and safety legislation. The announcement was made alongside a pledge from the U.S. National Science Foundation to spend $35m (26 million British Pound) over the next five years on drone research, and comes a month after the U.S. government green-lit commercial drone flights, but with restrictions around line-of-sight control that made automated drone delivery infeasible. The tests will help shape U.S. legislation around the types of automated flying systems that Amazon and Alphabet hope to use to delivery goods and services via air, and establish requirements for unmanned pilot licenses."
The Internet

Donald Trump Signs Pledge To Crack Down On Internet Porn (pcworld.com) 531

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has pledged to crack down on Internet pornography via corporate partnerships -- and he could possibly establish a federal commission on the harmful effects of porngraphy, a nonprofit announced Monday. The announcement comes a day after the New York Post ran a full-page nude photo of Melania Trump, wife of Donald Trump, on its cover. PCWorld reports: Enough is Enough, a nonprofit dedicated to confronting online pornography, child pornography, child stalking and sexual predation, published Trump's signed pledge on Monday. Trump's opponent Hillary Clinton refused to sign the pledge, Enough is Enough said, though her campaign told EiE that she supported its goals. "Preventing the sexual exploitation of youth online requires a multi-faceted holistic strategy with a shared responsibility between the public, industry, and government," Donna Rice Hughes, the chief executive of Enough is Enough, said in a statement. "The need for aggressive enforcement of existing laws and adequate funding for Law Enforcement to do the job is long overdue. For nearly two decades, bi-partisan government commissions, task forces, Internet safety groups, and researchers, who have recognized the significant risks associated with unfettered Internet access by youth, and have called upon the government and law enforcement to take aggressive action."
Youtube

Google Says 97% Of Connections To YouTube Are Now Encrypted (techcrunch.com) 46

Google said Monday that HTTPS now accounts for 97% of all connections to YouTube. In a blog post, the video portal made the announcement, also underscoring the challenges it faced making the site more secure. TechCrunch reports:Given its massive scale, YouTube obviously presents some extra challenges for Google. But the company argues that its Global Cache content delivery network is able to handle encrypted connections relatively easily, in large parts because hardware acceleration for AES, the algorithm at the core of the HTTPS protocol, is now ubiquitous. Google also argues that using HTTPS connections has improved the user experience on YouTube. "You watch YouTube videos on everything from flip phones to smart TVs," the team writes today. "We A/B tested HTTPS on every device to ensure that users would not be negatively impacted. We found that HTTPS improved quality of experience on most clients: by ensuring content integrity, we virtually eliminated many types of streaming errors."
United Kingdom

British Newspaper Fooled By Online Harry Potter/Pokemon Go Hoax (snopes.com) 36

An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: "The creators behind Pokemon Go are developing a new Harry Potter version of the app, according to reports," claimed The Metro -- citing as their source the web site "Hello Giggles". But that site's source -- as well as the source for an inaccurate article in Yahoo! Style -- was the infamous JTXH, a parody news sites created three months ago, whose other false scoops have included "NASA to make announcement involving 'religious' implications" and "Denny's waitress assaulted by Muslims for serving bacon during Ramadan".
From Snopes.com: There is no real radio or television outlet with the call letters JTXH; that identifier is purely the province of a fake news web site masquerading as a legitimate news outlet. JTXH News has previously published fabricated clickbait stories such as "Bernie campaign caught distributing LSD to youth" and "Chick-Fil-A is considering banning anyone who 'can't figure out their gender.'"
Google

Google Play Rolls Out Family Sharing (usatoday.com) 41

Google on Wednesday announced a new Google Play feature dubbed Family Library that allows up to 6 people to share apps, movies, books purchases. It will roll out to people in the next 48 hours in 12 countries (Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the U.K., and the United States) and requires people to sign up and add family members (you can add your friends as family member). The announcement is mostly in line with a CNET report from earlier this month. USA Today reports: The feature will allow users to share apps, games, movies, TV shows or books from Google Play on Android devices. Movies, TV shows and books can be shared on iOS platforms and the Web. After a user signs up for the Family Library, the person adds up to five family members and decides on the credit card that will be used for the families purchases. Eunice Kim, head of families for Google Play said a unique feature of Google Play compared to other family sharing initiatives is that family members can also choose to pay with their personal credit card or with gift cards. The same user who organized the family can control who below the age of 18 needs permission to purchase content.The feature is strikingly similar to an option in Apple's App Store that does the same thing.
China

Chinese Giant LeEco Buys Vizio For $2 Billion, Gets Instant Foothold In US Market (phonedog.com) 56

Chinese electronics conglomerate LeEco is purchasing American TV manufacturer Vizio for $2 billion, the company announced at a press conference in China on Tuesday. The announcement effectively gives LeEco, formerly known as LeTV, an instant foothold in the U.S. television market. For a refresh, for those who haven't heard much about LeEco, it's one of China's biggest electronics companies. Founded in 2004, it offers a range of services including live-streaming, e-commerce, cloud, smartphones, TV set-top boxes, and smart TVs among many other products and services. One of the recent areas where it has invested its time on is an electric car, which we talked about here a few weeks ago. From a report: Vizio is primarily known for its televisions, like the P-Series sets that we recently unboxed, but they've also dipped their toes into Android. For example, Vizio released a 10-inch tablet a few years ago, and the aforementioned P-Series TV set ships with a 6-inch Android tablet that you use as a remote. Once Vizio is acquired by LeEco, it'll be operated as an independent subsidiary and the current management will remain in California. LeEco CEO Jia Yueting commented on the deal, saying, "We hope that we can use the ecosystem model and create a great integration between Vizio and LeEco and create new values for U.S. users."Having talked to the executives of LeEco in the past few months, I understand that the company intends to bring its products to the American market before its rival Xiaomi does. Xiaomi also intends to bring its smartphones and TVs to the U.S. and European market, but is currently dealing with different regulations.
Government

Obama Creates a Color-Coded Cyber Threat 'Schema' After the DNC Hack (vice.com) 133

The White House on Tuesday issued new instructions on how government agencies should respond to major cyber security attacks, in an attempt to combat perceptions that the Obama administration has been sluggish in addressing threats from sophisticated hacking adversaries, Reuters reports. The announcement comes amid reports that hackers working for Russia may have engineered the leak of emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee in an attempt to influence the outcome of the upcoming presidential election. Motherboard adds: George W. Bush's Homeland Security Advisory System -- the color-coded terrorism "threat level" indicator that became a symbol of post-9/11 fear mongering -- is getting its spiritual successor for hacking: the "Cyber Incident Severity Schema." President Obama announced a new policy directive Tuesday that will codify how the federal government will respond to hacking incidents against both the government and private American companies. [...] The Cyber Incident Severity Schema ranges from white (an "unsubstantiated or inconsequential event") to black (a hack that "poses an imminent threat to the provision of wide-scale critical infrastructure services, national government stability, or to the lives of U.S. persons") , with green, yellow, orange, and red falling in between. Any hack or threat of a hack rated at orange or above is a "significant cyber incident" that will trigger what the Obama administration is calling a "coordinated" response from government agencies. As you might expect, there are many unanswered questions here, and the federal government has announced so many cyber programs in the last few years that it's hard to know which, if any of them, will actually make the US government or its companies any safer from hackers.
Blackberry

BlackBerry Says Its New Android Smartphone DTEK 50 Is the 'World's Most Secure' (theverge.com) 94

BlackBerry, which once assumed the tentpole position in the mobile market, announced on Tuesday the BlackBerry DTEK 50, its second smartphone powered by Google's Android operating system. The Canadean company is marketing the DTEK as the 'world's most secure' phone. It is priced at $300, and will go on sale in select markets on August 8. The Verge adds:The DTEK50 has a 5.2-inch, 1080p display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 processor, 3GB RAM, 13-megapixel camera, and 2,610mAh battery. The 8-megapixel front camera also includes a flash for taking selfies. It runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow with BlackBerry's software features, such as the Hub. The software is similar to the software on the Priv released last year. The security features are highlighted right in the device's name, as it has BlackBerry's DTEK software that protects users from malware and other security problems often seen on Android smartphones. The DTEK app lets users quickly get an overview of their device's security and take action on any potential issues. BlackBerry says that it has modified Android with its own technology originally developed for the BB10 platform to make it more secure. The company is also committing to rapid updates to deliver security patches shortly after they are released.
Yahoo!

Once Valued at $125B, Yahoo's Web Assets To Be Sold To Verizon For $4.83B, Companies Confirm 206

The reports were spot on. Verizon Communications on Monday announced that it plans to purchase Yahoo's Web assets for a sum of $4.83 billion in cash. The multi-billion dollars deal will get Verizon Yahoo's core internet business and some real estate. The announcement also marks a remarkable fall for the Silicon Valley web pioneer, which once had a market capitalization of more than $125 billion. For Verizon, the deal adds another piece to the mammoth digital media and advertising empire it owns. The deal is expected to close early 2017. CNBC reports: The transaction is seen boosting Verizon's AOL internet business, which the company acquired last year for $4.4 billion, by giving it access to Yahoo's advertising technology tools, as well as other assets such as search, mail, messenger and real estate. It also marks the end of Yahoo as an operating company, leaving it only as the owner of a 35.5 percent stake in Yahoo Japan, as well as its 15 percent interest in Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba. In December, Yahoo scrapped plans to spin off its Alibaba stake after investors worried about whether that transaction could have been carried out on a tax-free basis. It instead decided to explore a sale of its core assets, spurred on by activist hedge fund Starboard Value. Forbes has called it one of the "saddest $5B deals in tech history."Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, who was expected to leave -- or get fired -- said she intends to stay. "For me personally, I'm planning to stay," Mayer said in a note on Yahoo's Tumblr page. "I love Yahoo, and I believe in all of you. It's important to me to see Yahoo into its next chapter."
Open Source

Linux Kernel 4.7 Officially Released (iu.edu) 60

An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: The Linux 4.7 kernel made its official debut today with Linus Torvalds announcing, "after a slight delay due to my travels, I'm back, and 4.7 is out. Despite it being two weeks since rc7, the final patch wasn't all that big, and much of it is trivial one- and few-liners." Linux 4.7 ships with open-source AMD Polaris (RX 480) support, Intel Kabylake graphics improvements, new ARM platform/board support, Xbox One Elite Controller support, and a variety of other new features.
Slashdot reader prisoninmate quotes a report from Softpedia: The biggest new features of Linux kernel 4.7 are support for the recently announced Radeon RX 480 GPUs (Graphic Processing Units) from AMD, which, of course, has been implemented directly into the AMDGPU video driver, a brand-new security module, called LoadPin, that makes sure the modules loaded by the kernel all originate from the same file system, and support for generating virtual USB Device Controllers in USB/IP. Furthermore, Linux kernel 4.7 is the first one to ensure the production-ready status of the sync_file fencing mechanism used in the Android mobile operating system, allow Berkeley Packet Filter (BPF) programs to attach to tracepoints, as well as to introduce the long-anticipated "schedutil" frequency governor to the cpufreq dynamic frequency scaling subsystem, which promises to be faster and more accurate than existing ones.
Linus's announcement includes the shortlog, calling this release "fairly calm," though "There's a couple of network drivers that got a bit more loving."
Classic Games (Games)

Sega Announces Two New Sonic Games That Seek To Recapture The Glory Days (gamespot.com) 45

An anonymous reader writes: In celebration of Sonic the Hedgehog's 25th anniversary, Sega has announced two new Sonic games at Comic-Con in San Diego. The first game is called Sonic Mania and it's a 2D platformer that features visuals and gameplay reminiscent of the classic Genesis games. "It revamps zones and acts from Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic CD, Sonic the Hedgehog 3, and Sonic and Knuckles, in addition to introducing new ones into the fold," writes Mat Paget from GameSpot. The second game has no title [besides "Project Sonic 2017"], but it does have a holiday 2017 release date for PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo NX consoles. It reportedly features both classic and modern versions of Sonic, similar to 2011's Sonic Generations. Sega made two additional announcements. "Mobile game Sonic Dash has passed 200 million downloads and will receive a special in-game event that adds the Green Hill Zone and Classic Sonic as a playable character," reports GameSpot. "The event only lasts a week, but players can unlock both the classic level and character for use after the event." The second additional announcement is that the animated Sonic Boom series will be renewed for a second season. "Sonic Mania was born out of our fans' love of the classic Sonic 2D platform games,â said Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka. "This type of collaboration is a first for Sega and we hope everyone will be both surprised and delighted by this title. Sonic Mania has been a passion project for the entire team and we look forward to sharing more details about it later this year. Having the game actually playable at the event itself tonight was testament to the dedication of the team behind it.â

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