Payments startup iZettle raises $47M, reportedly at a $950M valuation

Artificial Intelligence - Posted On:2017-12-13 03:59:58 Source: techcrunch

 iZettle — the payments startup based out of Stockholm that competes against companies like Square, Paypal and SumUp to provide card transactions using smartphones and tablets as well as related accounting services — has raised another €40 million ($47 million), money that CEO and co-founder Jacob de Geer told TechCrunch would be used to expand into more markets beyond the 12 where…

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Google’s year in search finds people ready to take action

bitcoin - Posted On:2017-12-13 03:15:01 Source: engadget

It's been a heck of a year. And as 2017 draws to a close, a bunch of web giants are on hand to remind us of what we got up to on their services. Twitter had us raging, Facebook saw us praying for victims of tragedies, and now Google (the biggest of the three) is sharing its year in search. The top spot in the US and worldwide was reserved for Hurricane Irma. The same went for Google news trends in the US, which were dominated by natural disasters, including Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Jose, and Hurricane Maria, with the looming threat of North Korea and the tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas making the top ten as well. Although, it's difficult to chalk 2017 up as anything other than a lousy year, we can find some solace in the well-meaning \

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Why Meteoroids Explode Before Hitting the Earth

science - Posted On:2017-12-13 02:14:58 Source: slashdot

According to a new study from Purdue University, scientists have figured out why meteoroids explode before hitting the Earth. "The research, published in the December issue of the journal Meteoritics & Planetary Science, shows that as meteoroids plunge, the high-pressure air they push against find its way into the objects' pores and cracks, forcing their bodies apart from the inside," reports Quartz. "The result is a kind of detonation that looks like an explosion." From the report: To explain the astrophysics, researchers focused their work on a widely viewed February 2013 meteoroid explosion place over Chelyabinsk, Russia, a city of 1.1 million north of the Kazakhstan border. Researchers ran a computer program that allowed for them to simulate what happened to the meteoroid in the atmosphere. "Our simulations reveal a previously unrecognized process in which the penetration of high-pressure air into the body of the meteoroid greatly enhances the deformation and facilitates the breakup of meteoroids similar to the size of Chelyabinsk," the study states. The researchers added that while the air pressure is effective at breaking apart small meteoroids, larger ones would likely withstand the force as they come to Earth. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Tidal may only have enough cash left to last six months

av - Posted On:2017-12-13 01:45:01 Source: engadget

Music streaming service Tidal is facing both money and user growth woes, according to Norway's Dagens Næringsliv. After reportedly losing roughly NOK$368 million ($44 million dollars) before taxes in 2016, Tidal is now left with just enough cash to last six months. This despite Sprint buying a 33 percent stake in Jay-Z's streaming service in January. The $200 million deal, which included a reported $75 million fund for exclusive content, should've given Tidal \

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Blue Origin tests Crew Capsule 2.0 with 'biggest windows in space'

blueorigin - Posted On:2017-12-13 00:15:01 Source: engadget

Jeff Bezos' rocket company isn't quite ready for space tourism, but today's test flight gets it a bit closer. Bezos tweeted that for the first time, Blue Origin has tested version 2.0 of its Crew Capsule, and while he didn't mention how luxurious the test unit is, it does feature \

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The Silicon Valley Paradox: One In Four People Are At Risk of Hunger

news - Posted On:2017-12-12 22:44:58 Source: slashdot

Zorro shares a report from The Guardian: One in four people in Silicon Valley are at risk of hunger, researchers at the Second Harvest food bank have found. Using hundreds of community interviews and data modeling, a new study suggests that 26.8% of the population -- almost 720,000 people -- qualify as "food insecure" based on risk factors such as missing meals, relying on food banks or food stamps, borrowing money for food, or neglecting bills and rent in order to buy groceries. Nearly a quarter are families with children. "We call it the Silicon Valley paradox," says Steve Brennan, the food bank's marketing director. "As the economy gets better we seem to be serving more people." Since the recession, Second Harvest has seen demand spike by 46%. The bank is at the center of the Silicon Valley boom -- both literally and figuratively. It sits just half a mile from Cisco's headquarters and counts Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg among its major donors. But the need it serves is exacerbated by this industry's wealth; as high-paying tech firms move in, the cost of living rises for everyone else. The scale of the problem becomes apparent on a visit to Second Harvest, the only food bank serving Silicon Valley and one of the largest in the country. In any given month it provides meals for 257,000 people -- 66m pounds of food last year. Because poverty is often shrouded in shame, their clients' situations can come as a surprise. "Often we think of somebody visibly hungry, the traditional homeless person," Brennan said. "But this study is putting light on the non-traditional homeless: people living in their car or a garage, working people who have to choose between rent and food, people without access to a kitchen." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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EA and the CW team up for a 'Madden NFL' eSports special

av - Posted On:2017-12-12 22:15:02 Source: engadget

Sure, Madden NFL is a massively popular video game series that began in 1993 as John Madden Football, but it has never really broken through to the mainstream. The franchise has been making inroads to the eSports space over the last couple of years, though, with a live broadcast last year on ESPN 2. Now the CW is set to air a one-hour primetime special, co-produced by EA and NFL Films called the EA Madden NFL 18 Challenge. The mouthful of a title will air December 27th of this year. According to Variety, the special will focus on eight eSPorts players participating in the Madden NFL competition in LA, with a reality TV show style, like Survivor. That way, you won't have to sit through an entire hour of play-by-play game footage, thank heavens. The actual 2018 Madden Challenge will take place December 18th through 22nd on various livestream platforms, says Variety, which enables the producers edit the footage for the final show.\n\n\

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Trump Signs Law Forcing Drone Users To Register With Government

yro - Posted On:2017-12-12 20:29:59 Source: slashdot

President Trump signed a sweeping defense policy bill into law on Tuesday that will allow the government to require recreational drone users to register their model aircraft. This comes after a federal court ruled in May that Americans no longer have to register non-commercial drones with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) "because Congress had said in a previous law that the FAA can't regulate model aircraft," reports The Hill. From the report: In December 2015, the FAA issued an interim rule requiring drone hobbyists to register their recreational aircraft with the agency. The rule -- which had not been formally finalized -- requires model aircraft owners to provide their name, email address and physical address; pay a $5 registration fee; and display a unique drone ID number at all times. Those who fail to comply could face civil and criminal penalties. While Congress directed the FAA to safely integrate drones into the national airspace in a 2012 aviation law, lawmakers also included a special exemption to prevent model aircraft from being regulated. A D.C.-based appeals court cited the 2012 law in its ruling striking down the FAA drone registry, arguing that recreational drones count as model aircraft and that the registry counts as a rule or regulation. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Instagram Will Now Let You Follow Hashtags In Your Main Feed

technology - Posted On:2017-12-12 19:59:59 Source: slashdot

"Up until now, there were two ways to interact with a hashtag," reports The Verge. "You could click through a hashtag on a post, or you could search for a specific tag in the Explore section of the app." Today, Instagram is adding a new way to interact with a hashtag: the ability to follow hashtags so you can see top posts and Stories about a topic on your home page. From the report: You can now "follow" a hashtag the same way you would follow an account. Instagram's algorithms will then pick and choose some of the highlights from that collection and surface them in your main feed. It's a fundamental change to one of the largest social media platforms in the world, elevating your interest in adorable dogs or expensive automobiles to equal status with your friends and family. By contrast, the posts injected into my main feed based on the hashtags I chose to follow (#modernart, #bjj, #ancient) felt carefully curated. There is a lot of variety, even within those categories, but you can train the algorithm on what you do and don't like. Engage with the post by leaving a heart or a comment, and Instagram will assume you want more. Click the menu button on the top right of the post, and you can downvote the offending image by asking Instagram not to show you similar content for that hashtag again. After a few days of this, the art in my feed, both martial and modern, felt fine-tuned to my taste. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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US once again requires that you register your drone

drone - Posted On:2017-12-12 19:45:03 Source: engadget

The US' brief period of registration-free drone flight is over -- President Trump has signed the National Defense Authorization Act for 2018, and it revives the registration requirement for civilian drones. Robotic fliers between 0.5lbs and 55lbs need to be submitted to a database if they're going to remain legal. A Washington, DC appeals court had struck down the FAA's original requirement in May, arguing that it didn't have the authority to regulate model aircraft, but that clearly wasn't a deterrent. The FAA had said said it would rethink its approach to the regulation after its earlier defeat. Naturally, the FAA is slightly giddy. In a statement to TechCrunch, the agency welcomed the return of registration arguing that it helped \

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Google finally integrates Duo on Android call screen

app - Posted On:2017-12-12 19:15:02 Source: engadget

Google has been planning to integrate its Duo video chat on Pixel, Nexus and Android One phones for a couple of months. According to a report at Android Police, the company is rolling out Duo video chat in the ordinary phone dialer app, which basically makes the app a kind of Android Facetime. Engadget has also confirmed the feature. According to a report on Android Police, the Duo button is showing up in some users' regular phone dialer app. When you tap the video call button, your phone launches the Duo app and activates your camera. The person you're calling can then accept or decline the incoming video call. Android Police notes that the initial phone call will disconnect when the Duo video chat takes over, and that you'll have two entries in your call log — one for the initial phone call and one for the video call.

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Trump Signs Into Law US Government Ban on Kaspersky Lab Software

politics - Posted On:2017-12-12 18:59:59 Source: slashdot

President Donald Trump signed into law on Tuesday legislation that bans the use of Kaspersky Lab within the U.S. government, capping a months-long effort to purge the Moscow-based antivirus firm from federal agencies amid concerns it was vulnerable to Kremlin influence. From a report: The ban, included as part of a broader defense policy spending bill that Trump signed, reinforces a directive issued by the Trump administration in September that civilian agencies remove Kaspersky Lab software within 90 days. The law applies to both civilian and military networks. "The case against Kaspersky is well-documented and deeply concerning. This law is long overdue," said Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen, who led calls in Congress to scrub the software from government computers. She added that the company's software represented a "grave risk" to U.S. national security. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Indiegogo makes it easy to hop on the cryptocurrency bandwagon

crowdfunding - Posted On:2017-12-12 18:45:02 Source: engadget

There's a frenzy over cryptocurrency at the moment (helped in no small part by bitcoin's sky-high value), and Indiegogo is determined to milk the trend for all it's worth. The crowdfunding site has partnered with MicroVentures to enable investments in the initial coin offerings (ICOs) that are all the rage as of late. If you think a new digital cash format is going to be the next big thing, you now have a potentially easier way to pour money into it -- and you don't need to be an accredited investor, which limits the scope of many ICOs. The first offering on tap is the Fan-Controlled Football League, which is running a pre-sale for $5 million tokens for 10 days after this writing. And before you ask: while Indiegogo has a reputation for occasionally hosting crowdfunding projects that are less than honest, it's bending over backwards to show that it's above-board. Indiegogo is making sure that its ICOs honor SEC rules, and MicroVentures is a FINRA-registered broker and dealer. There are also promises that Indiegogo will curate investments to ensure you're getting trustworthy projects.\n\nYes, Indiegogo is clearly hoping that it'll become the go-to destination for ICOs, and it's counting on their popularity as a way to claim an edge over Kickstarter. However, this could democratize cryptocurrency investment. Instead of having to wait until after the ICO is live to get involved, you can throw your weight behind projects at their early stages. Offerings that might have struggled before could have a real chance of getting off the ground.

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FDA is not cuckoo for Coco Loko, a chocolatey alternative to snorting cocaine

Science - Posted On:2017-12-12 18:29:59 Source: arstechnica

In July, US Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer held a press conference to denounce a chocolate-flavored energy powder meant for snorting, called Coco Loko. He dubbed it “cocaine on training wheels” and called on the Food and Drug Administration to investigate.

The agency did, it turns out. And though regulators didn’t come up with a description quite as catchy as Schumer’s, their assessment of Coco Loko was even more damning.

Regulators determined that the powder was an unapproved new drug and that its maker, Legal Lean, was unlawfully marketing it, according to a Tuesday announcement. Moreover, the agency also looked into another product by the company, Legal Lean Syrup. The agency found that it, too, was an unapproved drug. The syrup contained an undisclosed sedative, doxylamine, which is found in the over-the-counter sleep-aid Unisom.

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Twitter Officially Launches 'Threads,' a New Feature For Easily Posting Tweetstorms

technology - Posted On:2017-12-12 18:29:59 Source: slashdot

New submitter FatdogHaiku writes: For those people that must use multiple tweets to rant (or educate) on Twitter, a feature called "Threads" is being rolled out to aid in creating "tweetstorms" (i.e. gang tweets). Given how tweetstorms are normally used, how about we call them twitphoons? TechCrunch explains just how easy to use the new threads feature is: "There's now a new plus ('+') button in the composer screen where you can type out your series of tweets. Each line represents one tweet, with a character limit of 280 as per usual. You can also add the same amount of media -- like GIFs, images, videos, and more -- to any individual tweet in the thread, as you could on Twitter directly. When you're finished with one tweet, you just tap in the space below to continue your thread. While writing out your tweetstorm, you can go back and edit the tweets at any time as they're still in draft format. When you're ready to post, you tap the 'Tweet all' button at the top to send the stream to Twitter. (Twitter will pace the tweets' posting a bit so they don't all hit at once.)" "In addition, another handy feature allows you to go back and update a thread by adding new tweets after it already posted," adds TechCrunch. "To do so, you'll write out the new tweet after tapping the 'Add another Tweet' button. This lets you continue to update a thread forever -- something Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey already does with his own threads, for example. Twitter tells us there's currently a limit of 25 entries in a thread, but that number may be subject to change depending on how the feature is adopted by the wider user base." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Alexa's latest trick is helping you find Twitch streams

alexa - Posted On:2017-12-12 18:15:02 Source: engadget

Sure, it's great that Amazon keeps adding more to Alexa, like the option to wake up with music instead of a shrill alarm or a enabling live BBC programming. But what about newer media platforms? Now Twitch users can bark orders at Alexa to keep up with their favorite channels and search for new content.\n\n It's not a huge surprise -- Amazon owns Twitch -- but it's nice to see audio controls for new media platforms. The skill only enables players to play their channels, get notified when they go live and browse for new ones, which means you can't use Alexa to stream hands-free...yet. But at least gadget companies are adding functionality for game fans, kind of like SteelSeries' keyboard that can be keyed to light up when receiving chat messages. The future is coming, streaming fans.

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Variation of 19-Year-Old Cryptographic Attack Affects Facebook, PayPal, Others

Security - Posted On:2017-12-12 18:14:59 Source: bleepingcomputer

Three security researchers have discovered a variation to an old cryptographic attack that can be exploited to obtain the private encryption key necessary to decrypt sensitive HTTPS traffic under certain conditions. [...]

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1998 attack that messes with sites’ secret crypto keys is back in a big way

Biz & IT - Posted On:2017-12-12 18:14:59 Source: arstechnica

A surprisingly big number of top-name websites—Facebook and PayPal among them—recently tested positive for a critical, 19-year-old vulnerability that allowed attackers to decrypt encrypted data and sign communications using the sites' secret encryption key.

The vulnerability in the transport layer security protocol for Web encryption was disclosed in 1998 when researcher Daniel Bleichenbacher found it in the TLS predecessor known as secure sockets layer. A flaw in the algorithm that handles RSA encryption keys responded to certain types of errors in a way that divulged potentially sensitive information. With enough specially formed queries, attackers could exploit the weakness in a way that allowed them to decrypt ciphertext even when they didn't have the secret decryption key. SSL architects responded by designing workarounds that suppressed the error messages rather than removing or rewriting the faulty RSA algorithm.

Researchers call the class of crypto vulnerability an Oracle because it provides only "yes" or "no" answers that, over time, can reveal detailed information about the contents of encrypted data. The information allows hackers to carry out what's known as an "adaptive chosen-ciphertext attack."

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Patreon senior engineer: “We don’t need” misbehaving CEOs

Policy - Posted On:2017-12-12 18:00:00 Source: arstechnica

SAN FRANCISCO—On the same day that the City by the Bay mourned the sudden passing of its tech-friendly mayor, Ed Lee, various tech leaders came together to discuss the current challenges that women and minorities face in Silicon Valley.

One of the most bold suggestions on Tuesday morning at The Atlantic’s “Inclusion in Tech” conference came from Erica Joy Baker, a senior engineering manager at Patreon.

“I don’t need to see Travis back,” she said, referring to the former Uber CEO, Travis Kalanick, who resigned in June but remains on the board.

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A worrying number of sites remain open to major crypto flaw from 1998

Biz & IT - Posted On:2017-12-12 18:00:00 Source: arstechnica

A surprisingly big number of top-name websites—Facebook and PayPal among them—recently tested positive for a critical, 19-year-old vulnerability that allowed attackers to decrypt encrypted data and sign communications using the sites' secret encryption key.

The vulnerability in the transport layer security protocol for Web encryption was disclosed in 1998 when researcher Daniel Bleichenbacher found it in the TLS predecessor known as secure sockets layer. A flaw in the algorithm that handles RSA encryption keys responded to certain types of errors in a way that divulged potentially sensitive information. With enough specially formed queries, attackers could exploit the weakness in a way that allowed them to decrypt ciphertext even when they didn't have the secret decryption key. SSL architects responded by designing workarounds that suppressed the error messages rather than removing or rewriting the faulty RSA algorithm.

Researchers call the class of crypto vulnerability an Oracle because it provides only "yes" or "no" answers that, over time, can reveal detailed information about the contents of encrypted data. The information allows hackers to carry out what's known as an "adaptive chosen-ciphertext attack."

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