'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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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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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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Former Edge Browser Intern Alleges Google Sabotaged Microsoft's Browser

technology - Posted On:2018-12-17 16:29:59 Source: slashdot

Joshua Bakita, a former software engineering intern on the Edge team at Microsoft, says one of the reasons why Microsoft had to ditch EdgeHTML rendering engine in Edge browser and switch to Chromium was to keep up with the changes (some of which were notorious) that Google pushed to its sites. These changes were designed to ensure that Edge and other browsers could not properly run Google's sites, he alleged. Responding to a comment, he wrote: "For example, they may start integrating technologies for which they have exclusive, or at least 'special' access. Can you imagine if all of a sudden Google apps start performing better than anyone else's?" This is already happening. I very recently worked on the Edge team, and one of the reasons we decided to end EdgeHTML was because Google kept making changes to its sites that broke other browsers, and we couldn't keep up. For example, they recently added a hidden empty div over YouTube videos that causes our hardware acceleration fast-path to bail (should now be fixed in Win10 Oct update). Prior to that, our fairly state-of-the-art video acceleration put us well ahead of Chrome on video playback time on battery, but almost the instant they broke things on YouTube, they started advertising Chrome's dominance over Edge on video-watching battery life. What makes it so sad, is that their claimed dominance was not due to ingenious optimization work by Chrome, but due to a failure of YouTube. On the whole, they only made the web slower. Now while I'm not sure I'm convinced that YouTube was changed intentionally to slow Edge, many of my co-workers are quite convinced -- and they're the ones who looked into it personally. To add to this all, when we asked, YouTube turned down our request to remove the hidden empty div and did not elaborate further. And this is only one case. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Twitter Warns of Suspicious Traffic Coming From China and Russia

technology - Posted On:2018-12-17 15:59:59 Source: slashdot

Suspicious traffic to a Twitter user forum appears to be part of a government-backed activity coming from China and Russia, a Twitter spokesman told Reuters Monday. The company said it is yet to determine the reason for the activity, but is choosing to notify users out of an abundance of caution. Additionally: Twitter bug leaks phone number country codes. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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CenturyLink Blocked Its Customers' Internet Access in Order To Show an Ad

technology - Posted On:2018-12-17 13:45:00 Source: slashdot

CenturyLink briefly disabled the Internet connections of customers in Utah last week and allowed them back online only after they acknowledged an offer to purchase filtering software. From a report: CenturyLink falsely claimed that it was required to do so by a Utah state law that says ISPs must notify customers "of the ability to block material harmful to minors." In fact, the new law requires only that ISPs notify customers of their filtering software options "in a conspicuous manner"; it does not say that the ISPs must disable Internet access until consumers acknowledge the notification. The law even says that ISPs may make the notification "with a consumer's bill," which shouldn't disable anyone's Internet access. Coincidentally, CenturyLink's blocking of customer Internet access occurred days before the one-year anniversary of the Federal Communications Commission repeal of net neutrality rules, which prohibited blocking and throttling of Internet access. "Just had CenturyLink block my Internet and then inject this page into my browser... to advertise their paid filtering software to me," software engineer and Utah resident Rich Snapp tweeted on December 9. "Clicking OK on the notice then restored my Internet... this is NOT okay!" Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Google's Secret China Project 'Effectively Ended' After Internal Confrontation: Report

technology - Posted On:2018-12-17 13:14:59 Source: slashdot

Less than five months after Google's plan to build a censored search engine and other tools for the Chinese market became public, the company has "effectively ended" the project, reports The Intercept. From the report: Google has been forced to shut down a data analysis system it was using to develop a censored search engine for China after members of the company's privacy team raised internal complaints that it had been kept secret from them, The Intercept has learned. The internal rift over the system has had massive ramifications, effectively ending work on the censored search engine, known as Dragonfly, according to two sources familiar with the plans. The incident represents a major blow to top Google executives, including CEO Sundar Pichai, who have over the last two years made the China project one of their main priorities. The dispute began in mid-August, when the The Intercept revealed that Google employees working on Dragonfly had been using a Beijing-based website to help develop blacklists for the censored search engine, which was designed to block out broad categories of information related to democracy, human rights, and peaceful protest, in accordance with strict rules on censorship in China that are enforced by the country's authoritarian Communist Party government. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Google To Invest $1 Billion in New Campus in New York City

technology - Posted On:2018-12-17 09:14:57 Source: slashdot

Google will invest $1 billion in a new campus in New York City, the company said Monday. From a report: The new 1.7 million square foot "Google Hudson Square" campus will include two buildings located at 315 and 345 Hudson Street and an office space situated at nearby 550, Washington Street in Manhattan, Google said in a blog post on Monday. The move will expand Google's presence near the Hudson River in New York City. Earlier this year, the search giant announced it had purchased shopping and office complex Chelsea Market for $2.4 billion. Google said the Hudson Square campus will be the main location for its New York-based global business organization. It said the investments in Chelsea and Hudson Square will create capacity to more than double headcount in New York over the next decade. Google currently houses more than 7,000 employees in New York City in a range of teams including Search, Ads, Maps, YouTube and Cloud. "Our investment in New York is a huge part of our commitment to grow and invest in U.S. facilities, offices and jobs," Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat said in the blog post. Unlike Amazon, Google did not pursue tax breaks or other incentives from New York. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Instagram Tightens Eating Disorder Filters

technology - Posted On:2018-12-16 15:29:59 Source: slashdot

AmiMoJo shares a report from the BBC: Instagram has placed more hashtags which could promote eating disorders on an "unsearchable" list after a BBC investigation found that users were finding ways around the platform's filters. The photo-sharing network has also added health warnings to several alternative spellings or terms which reference eating disorders, some of which are popular hashtags on the platform. BBC Trending found that certain terms promoting bulimia were still searchable - and that the Instagram search bar was suggesting alternative spellings and phrasings for known terms which some see as glamorizing or encouraging eating disorders In one case, the search box offered 38 alternative spellings of a popular term. Starting in 2012, the photo-sharing site started to make some terms unsearchable, to avoid users being able to navigate directly to often shocking images, and posts that promote the idea that eating disorders are a lifestyle choice rather than a mental illness. If someone enters the unsearchable terms into the platform's search box, no results will come up. An Instagram spokesperson said in a statement: "We do not tolerate content that encourages eating disorders and we use powerful tools and technologies -- including in-app reporting and machine learning -- to help identify and remove it. However, we recognize this is a complex issue and we want people struggling with their mental health to be able to access support on Instagram when and where they need it." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Facebook Disbands Secretive Research Lab Amid Reorganization

technology - Posted On:2018-12-16 14:30:00 Source: slashdot

Facebook has disbanded its secretive research lab, where the company developed new hardware like its Portal speakers and researched moonshot projects like brain computer interfaces. "Building 8, the division Facebook created in 2016 to house some of its most ambitious projects, has been disbanded and the projects have been redistributed to other groups within the social media company," reports Mashable. From the report: The change, which was first reported by Business Insider, marks the end of the "Building 8" brand, though the group's work will continue on. Now, thanks to BI, we know that behind the scenes Facebook has separated the Portal team into its own group, which oversees Facebook's other "unannounced hardware projects." Meanwhile, Building 8's researchers have been shuffled to Facebook Reality Labs (FRL), another new group at Facebook lead by Facebook's top VR researcher, Michael Abrash. The FRL group was created in May, around the same time Facebook announced a bigger reorganization among its top executives. A Facebook spokesperson confirmed to BI that the Building 8 brand was no more, but said it continues to work on the same projects and hasn't laid off any employees as a result of the re-structuring: "Building 8 was the early name of the team building consumer hardware at Facebook. Building 8 is part of Facebook's AR/VR organization. Now that we're shipping, it's the Portal team. And Rafa Camargo is still leading the team; that has not changed. We also unified research looking at longer terms projects under one team, which became Facebook Reality Labs, which is also part of our AR/VR organization. This includes research projects like the Brain Computer Interface." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Vine, HQ Trivia Co-Founder Colin Kroll Found Dead of Suspected Overdose

technology - Posted On:2018-12-16 13:30:00 Source: slashdot

TechCrunch has confirmed with TMZ that Colin Kroll, the 35-year-old co-founder and CEO of the HQ Trivia app and co-founder of Vine, has been found dead of an apparent drug overdose in his apartment. TMZ cites a police source saying cocaine and heroin were believed to be involved. From the report: Kroll was only named CEO of the HQ Trivia mobile game show app three months ago, replacing fellow co-founder Rus Yusupov who moved over to serve as chief creative officer. Prior to taking the CEO role Kroll served as HQ's CTO. He co-founded the startup in 2015, a few months after moving on from Vine -- the Twitter-owned short video format startup which got closed down in 2017. It's not clear who will take over the CEO role for HQ Trivia at this stage but Yusupov looks a likely candidate, at least in the interim. Kroll started his career as a software engineer at Right Media, which went on to be acquired by Yahoo in 2006. From then until 2011, he led the engineering team in Yahoo's search and advertising tech group before joining luxury travel site Jetsetter as VP of Product -- where he went on to be promoted to CTO. In 2012 he left to start Vine with co-founders Dominik Hofmann and Yusopov. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Data-Wiping Malware Destroys Data At Italian and UAE Oil and Gas Companies

it - Posted On:2018-12-16 12:30:00 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader writes: A new variant of the Shamoon malware was discovered on the network of an Italian and UAE oil and gas company. While the damage at the UAE firm is currently unknown, the malware has been confirmed to have destroyed files on about ten percent of the Italian company's PC fleet. Shamoon is one of the most dangerous strains of malware known to date. It was first deployed in two separate incidents that targeted the infrastructure of Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia's largest oil producer, in 2012 and 2016. During those incidents, the malware wiped files and replaced them with propaganda images (burning U.S. flag and body of Alan Kurdi). The 2012 attack was devastating in particular, with Shamoon wiping data on over 30,000 computers, crippling the company's activity for weeks. Historically, the malware has been tied to the Iranian regime, but it's unclear if Iranian hackers were behind these latest attacks. This new Shamoon version was revealed to the world when an Italian engineer uploaded the malware on VirusTotal, triggering detections at all major cyber-security firms across the globe. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Sean Parker Builds Beach-Access App To Atone For His Rule-Violating Wedding

technology - Posted On:2018-12-16 06:44:57 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader quotes the Associated Press: A tech billionaire whose elaborate wedding in a redwood grove violated California rules has helped create a smartphone app that shows users a map of more than 1,500 spots where people can get to the coastline. The California Coastal Commission unveiled the YourCoast app at its meeting Thursday in Newport Beach. "This is an only in California story," Commission Chair Dayna Bochco said in a statement. "Where else could you find a tech mogul partnering with a regulator to help the public get to the beach?" Sean Parker, co-founder of file-sharing service Napster, agreed to help make the educational tool after he built a large site resembling a movie set for his wedding in an ecologically sensitive area of Big Sur without proper permits. However, the commission determined the construction in a campground area wouldn't harm the environment and the wedding was allowed to proceed. Parker, a former president of Facebook, also paid $2.5 million in penalties, which helped fund hiking trails, field trips and other efforts to increase public access to the popular tourist area. It was a rare high-profile coastal violation case resolved with cooperation rather than a legal fight. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Study Reveals The Most Googled 'Should I' Questions In Each State

technology - Posted On:2018-12-16 03:44:57 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader quotes BGR: One of the more interesting 2018 retrospectives we've seen focuses on which Google searches were the most popular across each state. Specifically, AT&T tapped into data from Google Trends and came up with a rather amusing look at the most popular "should I..." questions on a state by state basis. "Should I vote" was the most-popular question in seven states, which isn't surprising, given the exciting races in many areas. Indiana and Michigan, on the other hand, are more concerned with the other four-letter v-word: vape. Other interesting results: The most popular question in Washington was "Should I delete Facebook?" The most popular question in California was "Should I move out?" The most popular question in Texas was "Should I apologize?" The most popular question in both Nevada and New Hampshire was "Should I buy bitcoin?" Although the article warns that "If you're asking Google what you should or shouldn't do, you probably already know the answer." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Is The World Shifting To 'Ambient Computing'?

technology - Posted On:2018-12-16 00:44:58 Source: slashdot

In the future, "A massive convergence of technologies will enable us to use computers and the internet without really using them," argues Computerworld. At the dawn of the personal computing revolution, people "operated" a computer. They sat down and did computing -- often programming. Later, with the application explosion, operators became "users." People used computers for purposes other than programming or operating a computer -- like balancing their checkbooks or playing video games. All computing uses so far have required a cognitive shift from doing something in the real world to operating or using a computer. Ambient computing changes all that, because it involves using a computer without consciously or deliberately or explicitly "using" a computer.... It's just there, guiding and nudging you along as you accomplish things in life. Ambient computing devices will operate invisibly in the background. They'll identify, monitor and listen to us and respond to our perceived needs and habits. So a good working definition of ambient computing is "computing that happens in the background without the active participation of the user...." In 20 years, the idea of picking up a device or sitting down at a computer to actively use it will seem quaintly antiquated. All computing will be ambient -- all around us all the time, whispering in our ear, augmenting the real world through our prescription eyeglasses and car windshields, perceiving our emotions and desires and taking action in the background to help us reach our business goals and live a better life. Between now and then we'll all ride together on a very interesting journey from computers we actively use to computing resources increasingly acting in the background for us. Though the article identifies smart speakers are the first ambient computing devices most people will encounter, it's argues that that's just the beginning of a much larger change. "We're also going to be flooded and overwhelmed by the 'ambient computing' hype as, I predict, it will become one of the most overused and abused marketing buzzwords ever." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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People Are Harassing Waymo's Self-Driving Vehicles

technology - Posted On:2018-12-15 19:44:58 Source: slashdot

Waymo's testing dozens of self-driving mini-vans near Phoenix. Now the Arizona Republic asks why the vehicles are getting so much hate, citing "a slashed tire, a pointed gun, bullies on the road..." "Police have responded to dozens of calls regarding people threatening and harassing Waymo vans." That was clear August 19, when police were called because a 37-year-old man who police described as "heavily intoxicated" was standing in front of a Waymo and not allowing the van to proceed. "He stated he was sick and tired of the Waymo vehicles driving in his neighborhood, and apparently thought the best idea to resolve this was to stand in front of one of these vehicles," Officer Richard Rimbach wrote in a report. Phil Simon, an information systems lecturer at Arizona State University and author of several books on technology, said angst from residents is probably less about how the Waymo vans drive and more about people frustrated with what Waymo represents. "This stuff is happening fast and a lot of people are concerned that technology is going to run them out of a job," Simon said. Simon said it is hard for middle-class people to celebrate technological breakthroughs like self-driving cars if they have seen their own wages stagnate or even decline in recent years. "There are always winners and losers, and these are probably people who are afraid and this is a way for them to fight back in some small, futile way," Simon said. "Something tells me these are not college professors or vice presidents who are doing well." Police used video footage from Waymo to identify the license plate of a Jeep that kept driving head-on toward Waymo's test car -- six different times, one in which the driver then slammed on the brakes, jumped out of their car, and demanded that Waymo get out of their neighborhood. Another local resident told the newspaper that "Everybody hates Waymo drivers. They are dangerous." On four separate occasions, people have thrown rocks. A 69-year-old man was even arrested for pointing a revolver at the test driver in a passing Waymo car. He later told police he was trying to scare Waymo's driver, and "stated that he despises and hates those cars." He was charged with aggravated assault and disorderly conduct. The man's wife told reporters he'd been diagnosed with dementia, but the Arizona Republic calls it "one of at least 21 interactions documented by local police during the past two years where people have harassed the autonomous vehicles and their human test drivers," adding "There may be many undocumented instances where people threatened Waymo drivers..." "The self-driving vans use radar, lidar and cameras to navigate, so they capture footage of all interactions that usually is clear enough to identify people and read license plates," the paper adds. (Waymo later cites its "ongoing work" with communities "including Arizona law enforcement and first responders.") When one local news crew followed Waymo vehicles for 170 miles to critique their driving, a Waymo driver eventually pulled into a police station "because the driver was concerned we might've been harassing them. After they learned we were with the media, they let us go on our way." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Study Suggests Too Much Collaboration Actually Hurts Productivity

it - Posted On:2018-12-15 16:45:00 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader quotes Inc: Our attention in the workplace is a precious resource that often falls victim to tools like email, Slack, and so on, which bring a nonstop supply of things to read, things to respond to, things to file, things to loop others in on, things to follow up on, and in general, things to do. This "always on" dynamic has roots in a desire for increased workplace collaboration and productivity, but as is so often the case, it turns out there is a balance to be struck for optimal results. New research shows that groups who collaborate less often may be better at problem solving.... In a study titled "How Intermittent Breaks in Interaction Improve Collective Intelligence", the authors use a standardized problem-solving test to measure the contrast between time spent in collaboration mode against the quality and quantity of problem solving results. The group with no interaction predictably had the highest options for solutions, but those solutions were of lower overall quality. The group with high interaction had higher quality solutions, but less variety and a lower likelihood to find the optimal solution. The intermittent collaboration groups found the desirable middle ground to balance out the pros/cons of the no interaction and high interaction groups, leading them to become the most successful problem solvers. The article warns of a "collaboration drain", suggesting managers pay closer attention to when collaboration is (and isn't) necessary. "Once upon a time in the land of business, people primarily communicated through conversations, meetings, and internally circulated printed memos. In the absence of email, Internet, cell phones, and CRMs there was a repeating cadence of connection, then disconnection, even while in the office." "In this case, 'disconnected' really amounts to uninterrupted -- and able to focus." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Cloudflare Under Fire For Allegedly Providing DDoS Protection For Terrorist Websites

technology - Posted On:2018-12-14 20:44:59 Source: slashdot

Cloudflare is facing accusations that it's providing cybersecurity protection for at least seven terrorist organizations. "On Friday, HuffPost reported that it has reviewed numerous websites run by terrorist organizations and confirmed with four national security and counter-extremism experts that the sites are under the protection of Cloudflare's cybersecurity services," reports Gizmodo. "Among Cloudflare's millions of customers are several groups that are on the State Department's list of foreign terrorist organizations, including al-Shabab, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, al-Quds Brigades, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade and Hamas -- as well as the Taliban, which, like the other groups, is sanctioned by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)," reports HuffPost. "In the United States, it's a crime to knowingly provide tangible or intangible 'material support -- including communications equipment -- to a designated foreign terrorist organization or to provide service to an OFAC-sanctioned entity without special permission," the report continues. "Cloudflare, which is not authorized by the OFAC to do business with such organizations, has been informed on multiple occasions, dating back to at least 2012, that it is shielding terrorist groups behind its network, and it continues to do so." Gizmodo reports: The issue that HuffPost raises is whether Cloudflare is providing "material support" to sanctioned organizations. Some attorneys told HuffPost that it may be in violation of the law. Others, like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, argue that "material support" can and has been abused to silence speech. Cloudflare's general counsel, Doug Kramer, told Gizmodo over the phone that the company works closely with the U.S. government to ensure that it meets all of its legal obligations. He said that it is "proactive to screen for sanctioned groups and reactive to respond when its made aware of a sanctioned group" to which it may be providing services. HuffPost spoke with representatives from the Counter Extremism Project, who expressed frustration that they've sent four letters to Cloudflare over the last two years identifying seven terrorist-operated sites without receiving a reply. Kramer would not address any specific customers or situations when speaking with Gizmodo. He said that's simply company policy for reasons of protecting privacy. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Regular Windows 10 Users Who Manually Look For Updates May End Up Downloading Beta Code, Microsoft Says

technology - Posted On:2018-12-14 15:59:59 Source: slashdot

In addition to relying on Windows Insiders, employees, and willing participants for testing updates, Microsoft is pushing patches before they are known to be stable to regular users too if they opt to click the "check for updates" button on their own, the company said. From a report: In a blog post by Michael Fortin, Corporate Vice President for Windows, it is made clear that home users are intentionally being given updates that are not necessarily ready for deployment. Many power users are familiar with Patch Tuesday. On the second Tuesday of each month, Microsoft pushes out a batch of updates at 10:00 a.m. Pacific time on this day containing security fixes, bug patches, and other non-security fixes. Updates pushed out as part of Patch Tuesday are known as "B" release since it happens during the second week of the month. During the third and fourth weeks of the month are where things begin to get murky. Microsoft's "C" and "D" releases are considered previews for commercial customers and power users. No security fixes are a part of these updates, but for good reasoning. Microsoft has come out to directly say that some users are the guinea pigs for everyone else. In some fairness to Microsoft, C and D updates are typically only applied when a user manually checks for updates by clicking the button buried within Settings. However, if end users really wanted to be a part of testing the latest features, the Windows Insider Program is designed exactly for that purpose. Further reading: Windows 10's 'Check for updates' button may download beta code. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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