Facebook's Ex Security Boss: Asking Big Tech To Police Hate Speech is 'a Dangerous Path'

technology - Posted On:2018-10-23 15:15:00 Source: slashdot

Like many people, Alex Stamos, former Facebook chief security officer, thinks tech platforms like Facebook and Google have too much power. But he doesn't agree with the calls to break them up. And he argues that the very people who say Facebook and Google are too powerful are giving them more power by insisting they do more to control hate speech and propaganda. From a report: "That's a dangerous path," he warns. If democratic countries make tech firms impose limits on free speech, so will autocratic ones. Before long, the technology will enable "machine-speed, real-time moderation of everything we say online." In attempting to rein in Big Tech, we risk creating Big Brother. So what's the solution? I spoke to Stamos at his Stanford office to find out. Technology Review: So is the disinformation/propaganda problem mostly solved? Stamos: In a free society, you will never eliminate that problem. I think the most important thing [in the US] is the advertising transparency. With or without any foreign interference, the parties, the campaigns, the PACs [political action committees] here in the US are divvying up the electorate into tiny little buckets, and that is a bad thing. Transparency is a good start. The next step we need is federal legislation to put a limit on ad targeting. There are thousands of companies in the internet advertising ecosystem. Facebook, Google, and Twitter are the only ones that have done anything, because they have gotten the most press coverage and the most pressure from politicians. So without legislation we're just going to push all of the attackers into the long tail of advertising, to companies that don't have dedicated teams looking for Russian disinformation groups. Technology Review: Facebook has been criticized over Russian political interference both in the US and in other countries, the genocide in Myanmar, and a lot of other things. Do you feel Facebook has fully grasped the extent of its influence and its responsibility? Stamos: I think the company certainly understands its impact. The hard part is solving it. Ninety percent of Facebook users live outside the United States. Well over half live in either non-free countries or democracies without protection for speech. One of the problems is coming up with solutions in these countries that don't immediately go to a very dark place [i.e., censorship]. Another is figuring out what issues to put engineering resources behind. No matter how big a company is, there are only a certain number of problems you [can tackle]. One of the problems that companies have had is that they're in a firefighting mode where they jump from emergency to emergency. So as they staff up that gets better, but we also need a more informed external discussion about the things we want the companies to focus on -- what are the problems that absolutely have to be solved, and what aren't. You mentioned a bunch of a problems that are actually very different, but people blur them all together. Technology Review: How do you regulate in a world in which tech is advancing so fast while regulation moves so slowly? How should a society set sensible limits on what tech companies do? Stamos: But right now, society is not asking for limits on what they do. It's asking that tech companies do more. And I think that's a dangerous path. In all of the problems you mentioned -- Russian disinformation, Myanmar -- what you're telling these companies is, "We want you to have more power to control what other people say and do." That's very dangerous, especially with the rise of machine learning. Five or ten years from now, there could be machine-learning systems that understand human languages as well as humans. We could end up with machine-speed, real-time moderation of everything we say online. So the powers we grant the tech companies right now are the powers those machines are going to have in five years. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Apps Installed On Millions Of Android Phones Tracked User Behavior To Execute A Multimillion Dollar Ad Fraud Scheme

technology - Posted On:2018-10-23 14:15:00 Source: slashdot

A new investigation uncovers a sophisticated ad fraud scheme involving more than 125 Android apps and websites, some of which were targeted at kids. From a report: Last April, Steven Schoen received an email from someone named Natalie Andrea who said she worked for a company called We Purchase Apps. She wanted to buy his Android app, Emoji Switcher. But right away, something seemed off. "I did a little bit of digging because I was a little sketched out because I couldn't really find even that the company existed," Schoen told BuzzFeed News. The We Purchase Apps website listed a location in New York, but the address appeared to be a residence. "And their phone number was British. It was just all over the place," Schoen said. It was all a bit weird, but nothing indicated he was about to see his app end up in the hands of an organization responsible for potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in ad fraud, and which has funneled money to a cabal of shell companies and people scattered across Israel, Serbia, Germany, Bulgaria, Malta, and elsewhere. Schoen had a Skype call with Andrea and her colleague, who said his name was Zac Ezra, but whose full name is Tzachi Ezrati. They agreed on a price and to pay Schoen up front in bitcoin. "I would say it was more than I had expected," Schoen said of the price. That helped convince him to sell. A similar scenario played out for five other app developers who told BuzzFeed News they sold their apps to We Purchase Apps or directly to Ezrati. (Ezrati told BuzzFeed News he was only hired to buy apps and had no idea what happened to them after they were acquired.) The Google Play store pages for these apps were soon changed to list four different companies as their developers, with addresses in Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Russia, giving the appearance that the apps now had different owners. But an investigation by BuzzFeed News reveals that these seemingly separate apps and companies are today part of a massive, sophisticated digital advertising fraud scheme involving more than 125 Android apps and websites connected to a network of front and shell companies in Cyprus, Malta, British Virgin Islands, Croatia, Bulgaria, and elsewhere. More than a dozen of the affected apps are targeted at kids or teens, and a person involved in the scheme estimates it has stolen hundreds of millions of dollars from brands whose ads were shown to bots instead of actual humans. (A full list of the apps, the websites, and their associated companies connected to the scheme can be found in this spreadsheet.) One way the fraudsters find apps for their scheme is to acquire legitimate apps through We Purchase Apps and transfer them to shell companies. They then capture the behavior of the app's human users and program a vast network of bots to mimic it, according to analysis from Protected Media, a cybersecurity and fraud detection firm that analyzed the apps and websites at BuzzFeed News' request. This means a significant portion of the millions of Android phone owners who downloaded these apps were secretly tracked as they scrolled and clicked inside the application. By copying actual user behavior in the apps, the fraudsters were able to generate fake traffic that bypassed major fraud detection systems. Response from Google. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Amazon's Move Off Oracle Caused Prime Day Outage in One of its Biggest Warehouses, Internal Report Says

it - Posted On:2018-10-23 12:15:00 Source: slashdot

Amazon is learning how hard it can be to move off of Oracle's database software. From a report: On Prime Day, while the e-retailer was dealing with a major website glitch that slowed sales, the company was also dealing with a technical problem in Ohio at one of its biggest warehouses, leading to thousands of delayed package deliveries, according to an internal report obtained by CNBC. The problem was in large part due to Amazon's migration from Oracle's database to its own technology, the documents show. The outage underscores the challenge Amazon faces as it looks to move completely off Oracle's database by 2020, and how difficult it is to re-create that level of reliability. It also shows that Oracle's database is more efficient in some aspects than Amazon's rival software, a point that Oracle will likely emphasize during this week's annual OpenWorld conference in San Francisco. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Mozilla Is Reportedly Going To Sell VPN Subscriptions Within Firefox

technology - Posted On:2018-10-23 06:14:57 Source: slashdot

Mozilla is reportedly preparing to offer a VPN service for Firefox users to help protect them when surfing the web. According to Trusted Reviews, Mozilla has partnered with the ProtonVPN service, "with a new notification piping-up when the browser detects an unsecured connection, or in a scenario when VPN might be preferable to users." From the report: However, it appears Firefox users will have to pay for the privilege. Austrian site Soeren-hentzschel reports the premium VPN service will be $10 a month, which is what ProtonVPN charges its users. Users will receive a "Firefox Recommends" pop-up when browsing an unsecured wireless network. The pop-up says the VPN service will provide a "private and secure' internet connection. According to the reports, a subset of Firefox 62 users in the United States will begin receiving the pop-up from today. Mozilla will reportedly get a cut of any subscription fee handed over by users to access the VPN service. MSPowerUser points out that this will be the first advertised service that costs money for Firefox users. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Google News App Bug Is Using Up Gigabytes of Background Data Without Users' Knowledge

technology - Posted On:2018-10-23 03:14:58 Source: slashdot

A bug in the Google News app for Android is reportedly causing the app to use up excessive amounts of background data, leading to overage charges. "According to dozens of posts on the Google News Help Forum, users have been experiencing this issue as early as June," reports The Verge. "The issue was verified and addressed by a Google News community manager in September, stating that the company was investigating and working toward a fix, but the issue is still ongoing." From the report: Verge reader Zach Dowdle emailed in with his experience, and screenshots of his app and Wi-Fi data usage: "The Google News app is randomly using a ridiculous amount of background data without users' knowledge. The app burned through over 12 gigs of data on my phone while I slept and my Wi-Fi had disconnected. It lead to $75 in overage charges." According to several users, the app burned through mobile data despite having "Download via Wi-Fi" turned on in the settings. In some extreme cases, the Google News app used up to 24GB of data, leading to overage charges of up to $385, users reported. So far, the only solutions seem to be disabling background data, and deleting the app altogether. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Richard Branson Steps Down As Chairman of Virgin Hyperloop One

technology - Posted On:2018-10-23 00:14:58 Source: slashdot

Richard Branson is stepping down as chairman of Virgin Hyperloop One -- "the company that plans to build a supersonic transport system in the United Arab Emirates and other countries," reports Reuters. The reason is because the company needs a more actively involved leader. From the report: The Financial Times reported last week that Saudi Arabia had terminated a planned deal with Virgin Hyperloop One after Branson halted investment talks with Riyadh over the Jamal Khashoggi affair. "At this stage in the company's evolution, I feel it needs a more hands-on Chair, who can focus on the business and these opportunities," the statement quoted Branson as saying. "It will be difficult for me to fulfill that commitment as I already devote significant time to my philanthropic ventures and the many business within the Virgin Group." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Feds Shut Down Self-Driving School Bus Pilot In Florida

technology - Posted On:2018-10-23 00:14:58 Source: slashdot

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Friday ordered the French transportation company Transdev to stop transporting schoolchildren in a self-driving vehicle in Florida. Ars Technica reports: Transdev's pilot project in Babcock Ranch, a planned community, was quite modest. On Fridays, Transdev's electric shuttle would take a group of elementary-aged children to school, then take them home later in the day. The vehicle had a safety driver on board. The route was short enough that kids walked or rode their bikes to school the other four days of the week, according to a spokeswoman for Babcock Ranch. "The shuttle travels at a top speed of 8mph, with the potential to reach speeds of 30mph once the necessary infrastructure is complete," an August press release stated. So why did the feds shut down this project while allowing lots of others to continue with minimal oversight? NHTSA points to two factors. One is that Transdev is a French company. Different countries have different safety standards, so vehicles designed overseas often can't be used in the U.S. without special permission from U.S. regulators. NHTSA granted Transdev a temporary importation authorization to test its driverless shuttle in the United States. "Transdev requested permission to use the shuttle for a specific demonstration project, not as a school bus," NHTSA said in its Friday statement. "Transdev failed to disclose or receive approval for this use." The other issue, of course, is that the project involves kids. For obvious reasons, federal regulators are going to be extra wary of testing experimental technology on schoolchildren. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Oculus Co-founder is Leaving Facebook After Cancellation of 'Rift 2' Headset

technology - Posted On:2018-10-22 19:14:58 Source: slashdot

Brendan Iribe, the co-founder and former CEO of Oculus, announced today that he is leaving Facebook. From a report: Iribe is leaving Facebook following some internal shake-ups in the company's virtual reality arm last week that saw the cancellation of the company's next generation "Rift 2" PC-powered virtual reality headset, which he had been leading development of, a source close to the matter told TechCrunch. Iribe and the Facebook executive team had "fundamentally different views on the future of Oculus that grew deeper over time," and Iribe wasn't interested in a "race to the bottom" in terms of performance, we are told. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Microsoft's Problem Isn't How Often it Updates Windows -- It's How It Develops It

it - Posted On:2018-10-22 12:45:00 Source: slashdot

Ever since Microsoft settled on a cadence of two feature updates a year -- one in April, one in October -- the quality of its operating system (taking into consideration the volume of bugs that emerge every few days) has deteriorated, writes Peter Bright of ArsTechnica. From the story: The problem with Windows as a Service is quality. Previous issues with the feature and security updates have already shaken confidence in Microsoft's updating policy for Windows 10. While data is notably lacking, there is at the very least a popular perception that the quality of the monthly security updates has taken a dive with Windows 10 and that installation of the twice-annual feature updates as soon as they're available is madness. These complaints are long-standing, too. The unreliable updates have been a cause for concern since shortly after Windows 10's release. The latest problem has brought this to a head, with commentators saying that two feature updates a year is too many and Redmond should cut back to one, and that Microsoft needs to stop developing new features and just fix bugs. Some worry that the company is dangerously close to a serious loss of trust over updates, and for some Windows users, that trust may already have been broken. These are not the first calls for Microsoft to slow down with its feature updates -- there have been concerns that there's too much churn for both IT and consumer audiences alike to handle -- but with the obvious problems of the latest update, the calls take on a new urgency. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Bill Gates Honors Microsoft Co-Founder Paul Allen: He 'Changed My Life'

technology - Posted On:2018-10-22 06:14:57 Source: slashdot

In an article published to the Wall Street Journal on Thursday, Bill Gates reflected on Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's life and the impact Allen had on him. Paul Allen passed away last Monday from complications of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma at the age of 65. People Magazine reports: "I met Paul Allen when I was in 7th grade, and it changed my life, Gates wrote in the Journal. "I looked up to him right away. He was two years ahead of me in school, really tall, and proved to be a genius with computers... Eventually, we were spending just about all our free time messing around with any machine we could get our hands on." The two would often sneak off during late hours to use the computers at the University of Washington, something Gates said he wouldn't have had the nerve to do without Allen by his side. Back then, Allen was able to foresee how powerful and essential computers would one day become. When Allen came across an issue of Popular Electronics that featured a powerful computer that was going to be released, he convinced Gates to join him in placing all of their focus into getting in on the computer industry before it took off without them. "That moment marked the end of my college career and the beginning of our new company, Microsoft," Gates recalled, adding that Allen's talents largely helped to make Microsoft successful at its inception. "As the first person I ever partnered with, Paul set a standard that few other people could meet. He had a wide-ranging mind and a special talent for explaining complicated subjects in a simple way." In closing, Gates wrote: "Paul was cooler than I was. He was really into Jimi Hendrix, and I remember him playing 'Are You Experienced?' for me. I wasn't experienced at much of anything back then, and Paul wanted to share this amazing music with me. That's the kind of person he was. He loved life and the people around him, and it showed." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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MPlayer, VLC Media Player Hit By Critical Vulnerability

it - Posted On:2018-10-21 22:14:59 Source: slashdot

A critical remote code execution vulnerability has been spotted in the LIVE555 media streaming library used by popular media players such as VLC and MPlayer. "Maintained by the company Live Networks, the library works with RTP / RTCP, RTSP or SIP protocols, with the ability to process video and audio formats such as MPEG, H.265, H.264, H.263 +, VP8, DV, JPEG, MPEG, AAC, AMR, AC-3, and Vorbis," reports Hackread. From the report: These findings (CVE-2018-4013) have left millions of users of media players vulnerable to cyber attacks, according to Lilith Wyatt, a researcher at the Cisco Talos Intelligence Group. In this case, the flaw lies in the HTTP packet parsing functionality, which analyzes HTTP headers for RTSP tunneling over HTTP, explains. An update has already been issued to address the vulnerability. Therefore, if you are using any of the vulnerable media players make sure they are updated to the latest version. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Experimental Android App Determines Alertness By Examining Eyes

technology - Posted On:2018-10-21 15:29:59 Source: slashdot

An experimental new Android app developed by a team at Cornell University is designed to determine a person's alertness by examining their eyes. The app, called AlertnessScanner, utilizes a smartphone's front-facing camera to gauge the size of users' pupils. "When we're in an alert state, our sympathetic nervous system causes our pupils to dilate so that we can take in information more easily," reports New Atlas. "On the other hand, when we're tired, our parasympathetic nervous system causes our pupils to contract." From the report: In an initial study, test subjects were prompted to use the app to manually take photos of their pupils, once every three hours. Additionally, six times a day they completed a five-minute phone-based Psychomotor Vigilance Test (PVT), which is an established method of gauging reaction time. When the results of the two alertness-testing methods were compared, they were found to be very similar. That said, it was determined that most people wouldn't like having to make a point of using the app so many times every day. Additionally, in order to properly image the test subjects' pupils, the infrared filters of the phones' cameras had to be removed. The researchers managed to address these problems by changing it so that the app automatically takes a one-second-long burst of 30 pupil photos whenever users unlock their phones; and using a larger 13-megapixel front-facing camera. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Windows 10 Will Banish Spectre Slowdowns With Google's Retpoline Patch

technology - Posted On:2018-10-21 14:30:00 Source: slashdot

Microsoft is including Google's mitigation for the Spectre Variant 2 speculative execution side-channel attack in the next release of Windows 10, currently codenamed 19H1. ZDNet reports: Google developed a software-based mitigation for Spectre Variant 2 called Retpoline that constrains speculative execution behavior sufficiently to mitigate an attack. Google's testing found its fix had a negligible effect on performance. Retpoline was implemented by Linux distributions such as Red Hat and SUSE, as well as by Oracle for Oracle Linux 6 and 7. And now, as MSPoweruser spotted, Microsoft's kernel engineers have confirmed that Retpoline will be part of the next version of Windows 10, 19H1, which is due out next year. Google's Retpoline plus Microsoft's own kernel modifications have reduced the performance impact to "noise level", according to Mehmet Iyigun of Microsoft's Windows and Azure kernel team. "Yes, we have enabled Retpoline by default in our 19H1 flights along with what we call 'import optimization' to further reduce perf impact due to indirect calls in kernel-mode. Combined, these reduce the perf impact of Spectre v2 mitigations to noise-level for most scenarios," wrote Iyigun. "The bad news is that Microsoft didn't include the Retpoline fix in the latest Windows 10 October 2018 Update Redstone 5, or RS5, release, even though, according to CrowdStrike researcher Alex Ionescu, it could have," reports ZDNet. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Latest Windows 10 Update Has Yet Another File-Managing Issue

it - Posted On:2018-10-21 06:44:57 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader quotes Gizmodo: When it was discovered earlier this month that the 1809 build of Windows 10 was deleting user files just because, Microsoft halted the update until the problem was fixed. Shame, then, that another not-as-bad-but-still-bad file overwriting bug has now reared its head. in 1809, overwriting files by extracting from an archive using File Explorer doesn't result in an overwrite prompt dialogue and also doesn't replace any files at all; it just fails silently. There are also some reports that it did overwrite items, but did so silently without asking. Ars Technica speculates that there's a larger program with Microsoft's testing process: [M]any of the preview builds had a bug wherein deleting a directory that was synced to OneDrive crashed the machine. Not only was this bug integrated into the Windows code, it was allowed to ship to end users. This tells us some fundamental things about how Windows is being developed. Either tests do not exist at all for this code (and I've been told that yes, it's permitted to integrate code without tests, though I would hope this isn't the norm), or test failures are being regarded as acceptable, non-blocking issues, and developers are being allowed to integrate code that they know doesn't work properly... Microsoft's new development process has, proportionately, a greater amount of time spent writing new features, and a reduced amount of time stabilizing and fixing those features. That would be fine if the quality of the features were higher to start with, with the testing infrastructure to support it and higher standards before new code was integrated. But the experience with Windows 10 thus far is that Microsoft hasn't developed the processes and systems needed to sustain this new approach. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Trolls Are Still Actively Trying to Influence Brexit and US Elections

technology - Posted On:2018-10-21 03:44:57 Source: slashdot

TechCrunch reports: A major new campaign of disinformation around Brexit, designed to stir up U.K. 'Leave' voters, and distributed via Facebook, may have reached over 10 million people in the U.K., according to new research. The source of the campaign is so far unknown, and will be embarrassing to Facebook, which only this week claimed it was clamping down on "dark" political advertising on its platform. Researchers for the U.K.-based digital agency 89up allege that Mainstream Network -- which looks and reads like a "mainstream" news site but which has no contact details or reporter bylines -- is serving hyper-targeted Facebook advertisements aimed at exhorting people in Leave-voting U.K. constituencies to tell their MP to "chuck Chequers." Chequers is the name given to the U.K. Prime Ministers's proposed deal with the EU regarding the U.K.'s departure from the EU next year. ABC News reports: When the Justice Department unsealed criminal charges detailing a yearslong effort by a Russian troll farm to "sow division and discord in the U.S. political system," it was the first federal case alleging continued foreign interference in U.S. elections. Earlier Friday, American intelligence officials released a rare public statement asserting that Russia, China, Iran and other countries are engaged in ongoing efforts to influence U.S. policy and voters in future elections. The statement didn't provide details on those efforts. That stood in contrast with the criminal charges, which provided a detailed narrative of Russian activities... The criminal complaint provided a clear picture that there is still a hidden but powerful Russian social media effort aimed at spreading distrust for American political candidates and causing divisions on social issues such as immigration and gun control.... Court papers describe how the operatives in Friday's case would analyze U.S. news articles and decide how they would draft social media messages about those stories. They also show that Russian trolls have stepped up their efforts with a better understanding the U.S. political climate and messages that are no longer riddled with misspellings. CNN notes that one week before America's 2016 presidential election, "one of the Kremlin-backed accounts denied that Russian meddling, saying: 'Russia's Putin says Moscow not trying to influence U.S. election.'" Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Slashdot Asks: Should 'Crunch' Overtime Be Optional?

it - Posted On:2018-10-20 19:59:59 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader quotes Forbes: Rockstar Games co-founder and VP Dan Hauser unleashed a storm of controversy when he casually stated in an interview with Vulture that "We were working 100-hour weeks" putting the finishing touches on Red Dead Redemption 2. Reaction was swift with many condemning the ubiquitous practice of crunch time in the video game industry in general and Rockstar's history of imposing harsh demands on its employees in particular... Hauser responded that he was talking about a senior writing team of four people working over a three-week period. This kind of intense short-term engagement was common for the team which had been working together for 12 years. Hauser went on to say that Rockstar doesn't "ask or expect anyone to work anything like this". Employees are given the option of working excessive overtime but doing so is a "choice" not a requirement. A QA tester at Rockstar's Lincoln studio in the UK has taken to Reddit to answer questions and clarify misconceptions about overtime at Rockstar that have arisen in the wake of Hauser's comments.... He has no knowledge of working conditions at other Rockstar studios. The first thing the poster points out is that he and other QA testers (with the possible exception of salaried staff) are paid for their overtime work. He then writes "The other big thing is that this overtime is NOT optional, it is expected of us. If we are not able to work overtime on a certain day without a good reason, you have to make it up on another day. This usually means that if you want a full weekend off that you will have to work a double weekend to make up for it... We have been in crunch since October 9th 2017 which is before I started working here...." [A] requirement to opt into weekly overtime shifts and more than a year of required crunch time ranging from 56 to 81.5 hours spent at work each week is a far, far cry from Hauser's claim that overtime is a "choice" offered to Rockstar's employees. The good news is that Rockstar has changed its overtime policies in response to the negative press engendered by Hauser's 100-hours comment [according to the verified Rock Star employed on Reddit]. Beginning next week "all overtime going forward will be entirely optional, so if we want to work the extra hours and earn the extra money (As well as make yourself look better for progression) then we can do, but there is no longer a rule making us do it." The videogame correspondent for Forbes argues that this "crunch time is the norm" idea in the videogame industry "is unconscionable and untenable. No one, in any line of work, should be expected to sacrifice their family for their job. If people want to devote their life to their job, they should be able to do so but those who would rather work a standard work-week should also be able to do so without suffering adverse job-related consequences." But what do Slashdot's readers think? Should 'crunch' overtime be optional? Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Bloodhound's 1,000 MPH Car Project Needs Money

technology - Posted On:2018-10-20 16:45:00 Source: slashdot

AmiMoJo quotes the Guardian: Plans to build a British jet-powered car to speed at more than 1,000mph through the desert have hit quicksand, after the company behind the Bloodhound project entered administration. The dream of an ultra-fast car to break the land speed record led to the creation of Bloodhound Programme Ltd in 2007, with the idea of also engaging schools and students in engineering. Bloodhound has already built and tested a viable racing car to speeds of 200mph, but the project is in debt and needs to find 25m or face being wound up... Bloodhound said its programme had been a catalyst for research and development, as well as helping interest schoolchildren worldwide in science and engineering, with an associated educational campaign reaching more than 2 million children... The planned car is a combination of jet, F1 car and spaceship that would cover the length of four and a half football pitches in a second. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Watch What Happens When A Drone Slams Into An Airplane Wing

technology - Posted On:2018-10-20 13:45:00 Source: slashdot

Long-time Slashdot reader Freshly Exhumed writes: Researchers at the University of Dayton Research Institute [Impact Physics Lab] have shown in a video what can happen when a high-mass, consumer-level drone strikes the wing of an aircraft. They provide visual evidence of the damage a 2.1-pound DJI Phantom 2 videography quadcopter would have upon the wing of a Mooney M20, a small, private aircraft. It is not difficult to extrapolate the effects upon an airliner in a similar situation. "We wanted to help the aviation community and the drone industry understand the dangers that even recreational drones can pose to manned aircraft before a significant event occurs," said Kevin Poormon of UDRI. The video -- titled "Risk in the Sky?" -- simulates a collision at 238 mph in which the drone tears open the wing's leading edge. "While the quadcopter broke apart, its energy and mass hung together to create significant damage to the wing," said Kevin Poormon, group leader for impact physics at UDRI. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Sentimental Humans Launch A Movement to Save (Human) Driving

technology - Posted On:2018-10-20 12:45:00 Source: slashdot

Car enthusiast McKeel Hagerty -- also the CEO America's largest insurer of classic cars -- recently told a Detroit newspaper about his "Save Driving" campaign to preserve human driving for future generations. Hagerty said he wants people-driven cars to share the roads, not surrender them, with robot cars. "Driving and the car culture are meaningful for a lot of people," Hagerty said, who still owns the first car he bought 37 years ago for $500. It's a 1967 Porsche 911S, which he restored with his dad. "We feel the car culture needs a champion." Hagerty said he will need 6 million members to have the clout to preserve human driving in the future, but he is not alone in the quest to drum up that support. The Human Driving Association was launched in January and it already has 4,000 members. Both movements have a growing following as many consumers distrust the evolving self-driving car technology, studies show... [S]ome people fear losing the freedom of personal car ownership and want to have control of their own mobility. They distrust autonomous technology and they worry about the loss of privacy... In Cox Automotive's Evolution of Mobility study released earlier this year, nearly half of the 1,250 consumers surveyed said they would "never" buy a fully autonomous car and indicated they did not believe roads would be safer if all vehicles were self-driving. The study showed 68 percent said they would feel "uncomfortable" riding in car driven fully by a computer. And 84 percent said people should have the option to drive themselves even in an autonomous vehicle. The study showed people's perception of self-driving cars' safety is dwindling. When asked whether the roads would be safer if all vehicles were fully autonomous, 45 percent said yes, compared with 63 percent who answered yes in 2016's study.... Proponents for self-driving cars say the cars would offer mobility to those who cannot drive such as disabled people or elderly people. They say the electric self-driving cars would be better for the environment. Finally, roads would be safer with computers driving, they say. In 2017, the United States had about 40,000 traffic deaths, about 90 percent of which were due to human error, Cox's study said. Alex Roy, founder of the The Human Driving Association, is proposing a third option called "augmented driving" -- allowing people the option to drive, but helping them do it better. "It's a system that would not allow a human to drive into a wall. If I turned the steering wheel toward a wall, the car turns the wheel back the right way," said Roy. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Winamp 5.8, the First Update In 4 Years, Is Released

technology - Posted On:2018-10-20 06:14:57 Source: slashdot

Winamp, the world's most famous media player, has released version 5.8 to make it compatible with today's modern operating systems such as Windows 8.1 and Windows 10. Bleeping Computer notes that there hasn't been a new updates released since 2014, when Radionomy purchased Winamp from AOL. Some other new features include standalone audio player support, an auto-fullscreen option for videos, updates scrollbars and buttons, and bug fixes. From the report: Radionomy has stated that they are not stopping here and have big plans for Winamp. In an interview with TechCrunch, Radionomy CEO Alexandre Saboundjian, revealed that a massive release is planned for 2019 that aims to add cloud support for streaming music, podcasts, and more. "There will be a completely new version next year, with the legacy of Winamp but a more complete listening experience," Saboundjian stated in the interview. "You can listen to the MP3s you may have at home, but also to the cloud, to podcasts, to streaming radio stations, to a playlist you perhaps have built." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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