Seismic scores $100 million Series E investment on $1 billion valuation

Enterprise - Posted On:2018-12-18 08:29:57 Source: techcrunch

Seismic has been helping companies create and manage their sales and marketing collateral since 2010. Today the company announced a $100 million Series E investment on a $1 billion valuation. The round was led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and T Rowe Price. Existing investors General Atlantic, JMI Equity and Jackson Square Ventures also participated in […]

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Windows 10 to Get New Task Manager, Action Center and File Explorer Features

Security - Posted On:2018-12-18 08:29:57 Source: bleepingcomputer

Windows 10's next update codenamed '19H1' will reportedly come with Microsoft Flow-powered custom actions for the Action Center, independent dark theme toggle for File Explorer, new Task Manager feature and more. [...]

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How computers got shockingly good at recognizing images

Features - Posted On:2018-12-18 08:14:57 Source: arstechnica

Right now, I can open up Google Photos, type "beach," and see my photos from various beaches I've visited over the last decade. I never went through my photos and labeled them; instead, Google identifies beaches based on the contents of the photos themselves. This seemingly mundane feature is based on a technology called deep convolutional neural networks, which allows software to understand images in a sophisticated way that wasn't possible with prior techniques.

In recent years, researchers have found that the accuracy of the software gets better and better as they build deeper networks and amass larger data sets to train them. That has created an almost insatiable appetite for computing power, boosting the fortunes of GPU makers like Nvidia and AMD. Google developed its own custom neural networking chip several years ago, and other companies have scrambled to follow Google's lead.

Over at Tesla, for instance, the company has put deep learning expert Andrej Karpathy in charge of its Autopilot project. The carmaker is now developing a custom chip to accelerate neural network operations for future versions of Autopilot. Or, take Apple: the A11 and A12 chips at the heart of recent iPhones include a "neural engine" to accelerate neural network operations and allow better image- and voice-recognition applications.

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France Will Tax Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon In New Year

apple - Posted On:2018-12-18 08:14:56 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Quartz: France won't wait on the rest of the European Union to start taxing big tech. French finance minister Bruno Le Maire says the country will move ahead with a new tax on Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon starting Jan. 1, 2019. The tax is expected to raise $570 million in 2019. France and Germany had originally pushed for an EU-wide 3% tax on big tech firms' online revenues, in part to prevent companies like Apple from sheltering their profits in countries with the lowest tax rates. The deal, which required the support of all 28 EU states, appeared to crumble earlier this month, with opposition from countries including Ireland, home to the European headquarters of Google and Apple. France and Germany attempted to salvage the deal by scaling it back to a 3% tax on ad sales from tech giants. That would effectively limit the tax to Google and Facebook, excluding companies like Airbnb and Spotify that might have been harder hit under the initial proposal. In the meantime, France is moving ahead with its own tax on Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon, which are collectively known in the region as GAFA. "The tax will be introduced whatever happens on 1 January and it will be for the whole of 2019 for an amount that we estimate at [$570 million]," Le Maire said at a press conference in Paris, the Guardian reported today (Dec. 17). Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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'Google Isn't the Company That We Should Have Handed the Web Over To'

technology - Posted On:2018-12-18 05:14:57 Source: slashdot

Iwastheone shares a report from Ars Technica's Peter Bright: With Microsoft's decision to end development of its own Web rendering engine and switch to Chromium, control over the Web has functionally been ceded to Google. That's a worrying turn of events, given the company's past behavior. Chrome itself has about 72 percent of the desktop-browser market share. Edge has about 4 percent. Opera, based on Chromium, has another 2 percent. The abandoned, no-longer-updated Internet Explorer has 5 percent, and Safari -- only available on macOS -- about 5 percent. When Microsoft's transition is complete, we're looking at a world where Chrome and Chrome-derivatives take about 80 percent of the market, with only Firefox, at 9 percent, actively maintained and available cross-platform. The mobile story has stronger representation from Safari, thanks to the iPhone, but overall tells a similar story. Chrome has 53 percent directly, plus another 6 percent from Samsung Internet, another 5 percent from Opera, and another 2 percent from Android browser. Safari has about 22 percent, with the Chinese UC Browser sitting at about 9 percent. That's two-thirds of the mobile market going to Chrome and Chrome derivatives. In terms of raw percentages, Google won't have quite as big a lock on the browser space as Microsoft did with Internet Explorer -- Internet Explorer 6 peaked at around 80 percent, and all versions of Internet Explorer together may have reached as high as 95 percent. But Google's reach is, in practice, much greater: not only is the Web a substantially more important place today than it was in the early 2000s, but also there's a whole new mobile Web that operates in addition to the desktop Web. Google has deployed proprietary technology and left the rest of the industry playing catch-up, writes Peter. The company has "tried to push the Web into a Google-controlled proprietary direction to improve the performance of Google's online services when used in conjunction with Google's browser, consolidating Google's market positioning and putting everyone else at a disadvantage." YouTube has been a particular source of problems. One example Peter provides has to do with a hidden, empty HTML element that was added to each YouTube video to disable Edge's hardware accelerated video decoding: "For no obvious reason, Google changed YouTube to add a hidden, empty HTML element that overlaid each video. This element disabled Edge's fastest, most efficient hardware accelerated video decoding. It hurt Edge's battery-life performance and took it below Chrome's. The change didn't improve Chrome's performance and didn't appear to serve any real purpose; it just hurt Edge, allowing Google to claim that Chrome's battery life was actually superior to Edge's. Microsoft asked Google if the company could remove the element, to no avail." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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The Most-Distant Solar System Object Discovered

science - Posted On:2018-12-18 02:14:58 Source: slashdot

Rick Zeman writes: Astronomers in Hawaii have discovered the furthest object in our solar system, a dwarf planet aptly named "Farout." This planet is 100 times farther than Earth is from the sun (120 AU from the sun) and is thought to be composed of ice. The object is so far away that researchers estimate it probably takes more than 1,000 years to make one trip around the sun. For reference, Pluto is 34 AU away and takes about 248 years to orbit the sun. Eris, the next most distance object know, is 96 AU from the sun. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Ford comes up with a prototype noise-cancelling kennel to shelter dogs from fireworks

Gadgets - Posted On:2018-12-18 00:44:59 Source: techcrunch

Dogs have a much wider range of hearing than humans do and noises that don’t bother us can give them a very ruff time. Fireworks are especially tough on many pups and also hard on owners who have to calm their panicking pets. To potentially help them, Ford has developed a noise-cancelling kennel prototype that […]

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US Ballistic Missile Systems Have No Antivirus, No Data Encryption, and No 2FA, DOD Report Finds

news - Posted On:2018-12-17 22:44:59 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader writes from a report via ZDNet: No data encryption, no antivirus programs, no multi-factor authentication mechanisms, and 28-year-old unpatched vulnerabilities are just some of the cyber-security failings described in a security audit of the U.S.' ballistic missile system released on Friday by the U.S. Department of Defense Inspector General (DOD IG). The report [PDF] was put together earlier this year, in April, after DOD IG officials inspected five random locations where the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) had placed ballistic missiles part of the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) -- a DOD program developed to protect U.S. territories by launching ballistic missiles to intercept enemy nuclear rockets. Here is a summary of the findings: (1) Multi-factor authentication wasn't used consistently. (2) One base didn't even bother to configure its network to use multifactor authentication. (3) Patches weren't applied consistently. (4) One base didn't patch systems for flaws discovered in 1990. (5) Server racks weren't locked. (6) Security cameras didn't cover the entire base. (7) Door censors showed doors closed when they were actually open. (8) Base personnel didn't challenge visitors on bases without proper badges, allowing access to secure areas. (9) One base didn't use antivirus or other security software. (10) Data stored on USB thumb drives was not encrypted. (11) IT staff didn't keep a database of who had access to the system and why. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Tumblr Porn Vanishes Today

technology - Posted On:2018-12-17 21:59:58 Source: slashdot

Earlier this month, Tumblr announced that it would be permanently banning adult content from its platform on December 17th. Well, that day has arrived and the social media site is now hiding all posts that are currently flagged as explicit, as well as posts that users are in the process of appealing. This includes media showing sex acts, exposed genitals, and "female-presenting" nipples. The Verge reports: In addition to what's already gone, more adult content is going to be flagged in coming weeks, Tumblr says, and it hopes that the automated tools will be more accurate at picking out what counts as explicit. In a blog post that went up today, Tumblr apologized to users: "We are sorry that this has not been an easy transition and we know we can do a better job of explaining what we're doing." It said the change would be a slow process that involves "flagging tens of billions of GIFs, videos, and photos." Many users also criticized Tumblr's decision to consider "female-presenting nipples" as explicit, while male-presenting nipples were still okay. Some pointed out that in the case of non-binary, genderfluid, or trans individuals, it would be confusing where the line would be drawn on whose nipples would be considered explicit. In its blog post today, Tumblr has added the caveat, "yeah, we know you hate this term," but maintained the language and distinction. "We understand and agree that there have been too many wrongfully flagged posts since we announced the policy change," says Tumblr. But if users don't appeal their posts, then they're out of luck. That could also be a problem for popular older accounts, which may not have anyone monitoring them to appeal the overly aggressive moderation. Flagged content will be hidden, but not deleted, Tumblr emphasized. That will allow posts to be appealed even after they're removed from public view. On a more positive note, Tumblr says that "all appeals will be sent to a real, live human who can make the appropriate call." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Senate Report Shows Russia Used Social Media To Support Trump In 2016

news - Posted On:2018-12-17 21:14:58 Source: slashdot

AmiMoJo shares a report from the BBC: Russia used every major social media platform to influence the 2016 US election, the report claims. New research says YouTube, Tumblr, Instagram and PayPal -- as well as Facebook and Twitter -- were leveraged to spread propaganda. Its authors criticize the "belated and uncoordinated response" by tech firms. It is the first analysis of millions of social media posts provided by Twitter, Google and Facebook to the Senate Intelligence Committee. Russia adapted techniques from digital marketing to target audiences across multiple channels, with a particular focus on targeting conservatives with posts on immigration, race, and gun rights. There were also efforts to undermine the voting power of left-leaning African-American citizens, by spreading misinformation about the electoral process. "What is clear is that all of the messaging clearly sought to benefit the Republican Party -- and specifically Donald Trump," the report says. "Trump is mentioned most in campaigns targeting conservatives and right-wing voters, where the messaging encouraged these groups to support his campaign. The main groups that could challenge Trump were then provided messaging that sought to confuse, distract and ultimately discourage members from voting." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Junk Food Cravings Linked To a Lack of Sleep, Study Suggests

science - Posted On:2018-12-17 20:44:58 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Writing in the Journal of Neuroscience, Peters and colleagues describe how they recruited 32 healthy men aged between 19 and 33 and gave all of them the same dinner of pasta and veal, an apple and a strawberry yoghurt. Participants were then either sent home to bed wearing a sleep-tracking device, or kept awake in the laboratory all night with activities including parlor games. All returned the next morning to have their hunger and appetite rated, while 29 of the men had their levels of blood sugar measured, as well as levels of certain hormones linked to stress and appetite. Participants also took part in a game in which they were presented with pictures of 24 snack food items, such as chocolate bars, and 24 inedible items, including hats or mugs, and were first asked to rate how much they would be willing to pay for them on a scale. During a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scan, they were asked to choose whether or not they would actually buy the object when its price was fixed -- an experiment that allowed researchers to look at participants' brain activity upon seeing pictures of food and other items. A week later, the experiment was repeated, with the participants who had previously stayed up allowed to sleep, and vice versa. The results showed that whether sleep-deprived or not, participants were similarly hungry in the morning, and had similar levels of most hormones and blood sugar. However, when participants were sleep-deprived, they were willing to pay more for a food snack than when rested, and had higher levels in their blood of a substance called des-acyl ghrelin -- which is related to the "hunger hormone" ghrelin, though its function is not clear. The fMRI results showed that when sleep-deprived, participants had greater activity in the brain's amygdala (where food rewards are processed) when food images were shown, and a stronger link between the price participants would pay for food and activity in the hypothalamus (which is involved in regulating consumption). Interactions between these two regions increased compared with when participants had slept. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Swedish ISP Bahnhof Fights Sci-Hub Blocking Order

yro - Posted On:2018-12-17 19:59:59 Source: slashdot

thomst writes: "After being ordered to block a number of piracy-related domains following a complaint from academic publisher Elsevier, Swedish ISP Bahnhof retaliated by semi-blocking Elsevier's own website and barring the court from visiting Bahnhof.se," reports TorrentFreak. "Those actions have now prompted Sweden's telecoms watchdog to initiate an inquiry to determine whether the ISP breached net neutrality rules." Bahnhof is under investigation for diverting its users who attempt to click on links to Elsevier -- the complainant in the case -- to a page that explains the giant journal publisher forced the ISP to block access to a number of Sci-Hub domains, via a court order it doesn't have the resources to fight. That page includes a link to Elsevier that Bahnhof doesn't intercept. So, is it reasonable for Bahnhof to divert its users to a "fuck you" page, rather than allowing them to freely access Elsevier? Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Germany Refuses To Ban Huawei, Citing Lack of Real Evidence

yro - Posted On:2018-12-17 19:44:59 Source: slashdot

hackingbear writes: Germany's IT watchdog has expressed skepticism about calls for a boycott of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, saying it has seen no evidence the firm could use its equipment to spy for Beijing, news weekly Spiegel reported. "For such serious decisions like a ban, you need proof," the head of Germany's Federal Office for Information Security (BSI), Arne Schoenbohm, told Spiegel, adding that his agency had no such evidence. The U.S. has been pressuring German authorities for months to drop Huawei, according to people familiar with the matter, but the Germans have asked for more specific evidence to demonstrate the security threat. German authorities and telecom executives have yet to turn up any evidence of security problems with Chinese equipment vendors, according to a person familiar with the matter. Separately, at a (secret lobster-themed) meeting in Canada in July 2018, espionage chiefs from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the U.K. and the U.S. -- all signatories to a treaty on signals intelligence, and often referred to as the "Five Eyes" -- agreed to do their best to contain the global growth of Chinese telecom (vendor) Huawei, the Australian Financial Review reported (paywalled). On the other hand, documents leaked by WikiLeaks and Snowden claimed that the NSA, the leader of the Five Eyes, tapped German Chancellery for decades and bugged routers made by Cisco, the leading American networking equipment vendor. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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This fake package covers porch thieves in glitter and fart spray

Gadgets - Posted On:2018-12-17 19:30:00 Source: techcrunch

Having a package stolen off your front porch sucks. No matter what’s inside the box, it just feels… violating. Someone came into your space and took your stuff just because they could probably get away with it. And even if you go to the cops with license plates and high-res face photos, they’ll often respond […]

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German Refuses To Ban Huawei, Citing Lack of Real Evidence

yro - Posted On:2018-12-17 19:14:59 Source: slashdot

hackingbear writes: Germany's IT watchdog has expressed skepticism about calls for a boycott of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, saying it has seen no evidence the firm could use its equipment to spy for Beijing, news weekly Spiegel reported. "For such serious decisions like a ban, you need proof," the head of Germany's Federal Office for Information Security (BSI), Arne Schoenbohm, told Spiegel, adding that his agency had no such evidence. The U.S. has been pressuring German authorities for months to drop Huawei, according to people familiar with the matter, but the Germans have asked for more specific evidence to demonstrate the security threat. German authorities and telecom executives have yet to turn up any evidence of security problems with Chinese equipment vendors, according to a person familiar with the matter. Separately, at a (secret lobster-themed) meeting in Canada in July 2018, espionage chiefs from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the U.K. and the U.S. -- all signatories to a treaty on signals intelligence, and often referred to as the "Five Eyes" -- agreed to do their best to contain the global growth of Chinese telecom (vendor) Huawei, the Australian Financial Review reported (paywalled). On the other hand, documents leaked by WikiLeaks and Snowden claimed that the NSA, the leader of the Five Eyes, tapped German Chancellery for decades and bugged routers made by Cisco, the leading American networking equipment vendor. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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FCC Forces California To Drop Plan For Government Fees On Text Messages

technology - Posted On:2018-12-17 18:44:59 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: California telecom regulators have abandoned a plan to impose government fees on text-messaging services, saying that a recent Federal Communications Commission vote has limited its authority over text messaging. The FCC last week voted to classify text-messaging as an information service, rather than a telecommunications service. "Information service" is the same classification the FCC gave to broadband when it repealed net neutrality rules and claimed that states aren't allowed to impose their own net neutrality laws. California's legislature passed a net neutrality law anyway and is defending it in court. But the state's utility regulator chose not to challenge the FCC on regulation of text messaging. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) was scheduled to consider the text-message fee proposal at a meeting next month but pulled the item off the agenda after the FCC action. "Under California law, telecommunications services are subject to the collection of surcharges to support a number of CPUC public programs that subsidize the cost of service for rural Californians and for low-income, disadvantaged communities, and provides special services for the deaf, the hard of hearing, and the disabled," the commission said in a statement Friday. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Red Hat Enterprise Linux Comes To Windows 10 in the Form of WLinux Enterprise

technology - Posted On:2018-12-17 17:59:59 Source: slashdot

Mark Wilson writes: Earlier in the year open-source software startup Whitewater Foundry brought WLinux to the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). Not content with creating the first native Linux distribution for WSL, the company has now gone a step further, targeting enterprise users with WLinux Enterprise. Whitewater Foundry says that WLinux Enterprise is the first product to support the industry-standard Red Hat Enterprise Linux on Windows Subsystem for Linux. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Google isn’t the company that we should have handed the Web over to

Tech - Posted On:2018-12-17 17:45:00 Source: arstechnica

With Microsoft's decision to end development of its own Web rendering engine and switch to Chromium, control over the Web has functionally been ceded to Google. That's a worrying turn of events, given the company's past behavior.

Chrome itself has about 72 percent of the desktop-browser market share. Edge has about 4 percent. Opera, based on Chromium, has another 2 percent. The abandoned, no-longer-updated Internet Explorer has 5 percent, and Safari—only available on macOS—about 5 percent. When Microsoft's transition is complete, we're looking at a world where Chrome and Chrome-derivatives take about 80 percent of the market, with only Firefox, at 9 percent, actively maintained and available cross-platform.

The mobile story has stronger representation from Safari, thanks to the iPhone, but overall tells a similar story. Chrome has 53 percent directly, plus another 6 percent from Samsung Internet, another 5 percent from Opera, and another 2 percent from Android browser. Safari has about 22 percent, with the Chinese UC Browser sitting at about 9 percent. That's two-thirds of the mobile market going to Chrome and Chrome derivatives.

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The Web now belongs to Google, and that should worry us all

Tech - Posted On:2018-12-17 17:30:00 Source: arstechnica

With Microsoft's decision to end development of its own Web rendering engine and switch to Chromium, control over the Web has functionally been ceded to Google. That's a worrying turn of events, given the company's past behavior.

Chrome itself has about 72 percent of the desktop-browser market share. Edge has about 4 percent. Opera, based on Chromium, has another 2 percent. The abandoned, no-longer-updated Internet Explorer has 5 percent, and Safari—only available on macOS—about 5 percent. When Microsoft's transition is complete, we're looking at a world where Chrome and Chrome-derivatives take about 80 percent of the market, with only Firefox, at 9 percent, actively maintained and available cross-platform.

The mobile story has stronger representation from Safari, thanks to the iPhone, but overall tells a similar story. Chrome has 53 percent directly, plus another 6 percent from Samsung Internet, another 5 percent from Opera, and another 2 percent from Android browser. Safari has about 22 percent, with the Chinese UC Browser sitting at about 9 percent. That's two-thirds of the mobile market going to Chrome and Chrome derivatives.

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Lawmakers Push To Create a Three-Digit Suicide Hotline Number

news - Posted On:2018-12-17 17:14:59 Source: slashdot

In a letter addressed to the FCC, Senator Ron Wyden urged commissioners to create a three-digit, 911-style suicide hotline number. The Oregon senator cites the CDC's report that more than 40,000 Americans died by suicide in 2017. From a report: "I write on behalf of those struggling with mental health issues, our veterans struggling with PTSD and for those impacted by the tragedy of suicide," Wyden writes. "I urge you to designate a 3-digit code as a Behavioral Health and Suicide Crisis Lifeline. Thank you for your consideration." While The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline launched an 800 line in 2004, many believe the number is too long and cumbersome for those reaching out in their time of need. The letter floats the idea of using 611. The call echoes a similar push last week by Senator Orrin Hatch and Representative Chris Stewart to designate the number, which is currently used to report phone service problems by some U.S. and Canadian carriers. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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