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Geek

Uber Destroys Thousands of Bikes and Scooters

Slashdot - Thu, 05/28/2020 - 23:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from the BBC: Uber is destroying thousands of electric bikes and scooters, after selling its Jump business to Lime. Videos of its red bikes being crushed at a recycling centre were shared on social media, angering cycling advocates. Uber said it had decided to destroy thousands of its older-model vehicles due to maintenance, liability and safety concerns. In 2018, Uber said it would focus more on its electric bike and scooter business than on cars. But on May 7 this year, Uber announced a deal that saw Lime take over the Jump bike business. As part of the deal, Uber invested $170 million in Lime, while Lime acquired "tens of thousands" of Uber's Jump bikes -- and the associated intellectual property. Lime's chief executive Wayne Ting has said he prefers the design of Uber's bikes and will deploy more of them in the future. However, there were also "tens of thousands" of older-model bikes that Lime did not inherit as part of the deal. Videos shared on Twitter show the bikes arriving at a recycling facility in North Carolina to be destroyed. "We explored donating the remaining, older-model bikes," Uber said in a statement. "But given many significant issues -- including maintenance, liability, safety concerns, and a lack of consumer-grade charging equipment -- we decided the best approach was to responsibly recycle them." The decision to destroy these bikes comes amid a national bike shortage. "We have never seen anything like this in a very long time," said Dave Nghiem at College Park Bicycles in College Park, MD. "We have never locked down half the planet like this so they can't do their jobs to build bikes. So, no one has been building bikes for three months. If no one is building bikes, there's no bikes on the continent," said Dave. Kurt of Bike Share Museum seems to think it is all about killing Jump, "destroying every bike they can, and slowly taking Lime down in the process." He adds: "We also can't emphasize enough how disgusting it is for UBER to scrap 20,000 bicycles in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic where bicycles have literally become an object of survival. Heavy as they are, these could be transportation for the many who have been brought to financial ruin during COVID-19."

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Categories: Geek

Germany Calls In Russian Envoy Over Hack Attack

Slashdot - Thu, 05/28/2020 - 22:20
In response to a cyberattack on the German Parliament in 2015, Germany wants to impose a European travel ban and asset freeze on those responsible. Reuters reports: Russia has rejected allegations that its military intelligence was behind the cyber attack after media reported that data had been stolen, including emails from Chancellor Angela Merkel's constituency office. State Secretary Miguel Berger told the ambassador that the government would call for the EU's cyber sanctions mechanism to be invoked against those responsible for the attack, said the German ministry in a statement. The EU last year approved a system to freeze hackers' assets in the bloc and banning them from entry. Federal prosecutors issued an arrest warrant on May 5 for Russian national Dmitry Badin over the attack and the German ministry said there was credible evidence that he was part of the GRU military intelligence service at the time of the attack. "The arrest warrant against Mr Badin was issued on the basis of the strong suspicion that the accused conspired with other hitherto anonymous persons to carry out intelligence activities against Germany on behalf of the secret service of a foreign power," said the ministry. In a statement on Wednesday, the Russian embassy in Berlin said German officials so far had not been able to present facts to underpin the accusations against Moscow.

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ACLU Accuses Clearview AI of Privacy 'Nightmare Scenario'

Slashdot - Thu, 05/28/2020 - 21:40
The American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday sued the facial recognition start-up Clearview AI (alternative source), which claims to have helped hundreds of law enforcement agencies use online photos to solve crimes, accusing the company of "unlawful, privacy-destroying surveillance activities." The New York Times reports: In a suit filed in Illinois, the A.C.L.U. said that Clearview violated a state law that forbids companies from using a resident's fingerprints or face scans without consent. Under the law, residents have the right to sue companies for up to $5,000 per privacy violation. "The bottom line is that, if left unchecked, Clearview's product is going to end privacy as we know it," said Nathan Freed Wessler, a lawyer at the A.C.L.U., "and we're taking the company to court to prevent that from happening." The suit, filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County, adds to the growing backlash against Clearview since January, when The New York Times reported that the company had amassed a database of more than three billion photos across the internet, including from Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Venmo. This trove of photos enables anyone with the Clearview app to match a person to their online photos and find links back to the sites where the images originated. People in New York and Vermont have also filed suits in against the company in recent months, and the state attorneys general of Vermont and New Jersey have ordered Clearview to stop collecting residents' photos. According to the A.C.L.U. suit, "Clearview has set out to do what many companies have intentionally avoided out of ethical concerns: create a mass database of billions of face prints of people, including millions of Illinoisans, entirely unbeknownst to those people, and offer paid access to that database to private and governmental actors worldwide." The company's business model, the complaint said, "appears to embody the nightmare scenario" of a "private company capturing untold quantities of biometric data for purposes of surveillance and tracking without notice to the individuals affected, much less their consent."

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Google Sued by Arizona Over Location Data and Alleged Consumer Fraud

Slashdot - Thu, 05/28/2020 - 21:20
Google has been hit by a lawsuit filed by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, alleging the search giant deceived its users in order to collect location data from their phones. From a report: The company generates the vast majority of its revenue through its massive advertising operation, which is buttressed by personal information Google collects when people use its products. But users were "lulled into a false sense of security" because Google led users to believe they disabled settings for location data gathering, when they were still turned on, Brnovich wrote on Twitter. "Google collects detailed information about its users, including their physical locations, to target users for advertising," Brnovich wrote. "Often, this is done without the users' consent or knowledge." The lawsuit seeks damages, but the amount is unclear. Brnovich's office didn't respond to a request for comment.

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Categories: Geek

Google Launches Android Studio 4.0 With Motion Editor, Build Analyzer, and Java 8 APIs

Slashdot - Thu, 05/28/2020 - 21:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from VentureBeat: Google today launched Android Studio 4.0, the latest version of its integrated development environment (IDE). Android Studio 4.0 is supposed to help developers "code smarter, build faster, and design apps." Version 4.0 includes a new Motion Editor, a Build Analyzer, and Java 8 language APIs. Google also overhauled the CPU Profiler user interface and improved the Layout Inspector. [In the article] you'll find Android Studio 4.0 features broken down by category: design, develop, and build. The new version also includes the usual performance improvements and bug fixes on top of the new features (full release notes). Google didn't share its plans for the next version. Normally we'd get hints at the company's I/O developer conference, but 2020 is a weird year.

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Categories: Geek

New ‘Perspective Icons’ collection from MacStories let’s you personalize OmniFocus Pro

9to5Mac - Thu, 05/28/2020 - 20:44

The folks at MacStories have released a stunning new collection of perspective icons for OmniFocus. These icons were specifically designed for OmniFocus Pro, allowing you to completely customize your experience in the app.

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Categories: Geek

IDC: Apple still dominates the wearable market with 21.2 million units shipped in Q1 2020

9to5Mac - Thu, 05/28/2020 - 20:39

Apple continues to lead the market for wearable products, according to the latest IDC report. The company shipped 21.2 million units of these products in the first quarter of 2020, which represents 29.3% of the total share.

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Categories: Geek

YouTube Says China-Linked Comment Deletions Weren't Caused By Outside Parties

Slashdot - Thu, 05/28/2020 - 20:30
YouTube sparked widespread speculation about its moderation policies this week after it admitted to accidentally deleting comments that contained phrases critical of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Today, the company told The Verge that the issue was not the result of outside interference -- an explanation for the error floated by many. The Verge reports: The phrases that triggered automatic deletion included "communist bandit" and "50-cent party," a slang term for internet users paid to defend the CCP. Some speculated that an outside group, perhaps connected to the CCP, manipulated YouTube's automated filters by repeatedly reporting these phrases, causing the algorithm to tag them as offensive. Speaking to The Verge, YouTube spokesperson Alex Joseph denied that this happened and said that, contrary to popular belief, YouTube never removes comments only on the basis of user reports. "This was not the result of outside interference, and we only remove content when our enforcement system determines it violates our Community Guidelines, not solely because it's flagged by users," said Joseph. "This was an error with our enforcement systems and we have rolled out a fix."

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Categories: Geek

NSA Warns of Ongoing Russian Hacking Campaign Against US Systems

Slashdot - Thu, 05/28/2020 - 20:02
The U.S. National Security Agency on Thursday warned government partners and private companies about a Russian hacking operation that uses a special intrusion technique to target operating systems often used by industrial firms to manage computer infrastructure. Reuters reports: "This is a vulnerability that is being actively exploited, that's why we're bringing this notification out," said Doug Cress, chief of the cybersecurity collaboration center and directorate at NSA. "We really want... the broader cybersecurity community to take this seriously." Cress declined to discuss which business sectors had been most affected, how many organizations were compromised using the Russian technique, or whether the cyber espionage operation targeted a specific geographic region. The NSA said the hacking activity was tied directly to a specific unit within Russia's Main Intelligence Directorate, also known as the GRU, named the Main Center for Special Technologies. The cybersecurity research community refers to this same hacking group as "Sandworm," and has previously connected it to disruptive cyberattacks against Ukrainian electric production facilities. A security alert published by the NSA on Thursday explains how hackers with GRU, Russia's military intelligence, are leveraging a software vulnerability in Exim, a mail transfer agent common on Unix-based operating systems, such as Linux. The vulnerability was patched last year, but some users have not updated their systems to close the security gap.

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Review: Lutron Aurora solves the biggest problem with Philips Hue smart bulbs

9to5Mac - Thu, 05/28/2020 - 19:46

Philips Hue bulbs are one of the easiest ways to give your existing light fixtures smart home capabilities, including through Apple’s HomeKit platform. The problem with Philips Hue switches is that whenever a wall light switch is flipped off, the smart lights become unresponsive. The Lutron Aurora dimmer is a simple yet ingenious way to solve this problem.

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Categories: Geek

TIDAL announces Dolby Atmos support for sound bars and set-top boxes, Apple TV included

9to5Mac - Thu, 05/28/2020 - 19:35

TIDAL is known for its HiFi plan, which allows users to stream high-fidelity, lossless audio. The company has announced today that it is expanding Dolby Atmos compatibility for sound bars and set-top boxes, enabling immersive sound on more devices, including the Apple TV 4K.

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Categories: Geek

A $350 'Anti-5G' Device Is Just a 128MB USB Stick, Teardown Finds

Slashdot - Thu, 05/28/2020 - 19:20
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Believers of 5G conspiracy theories have apparently been buying a $350 anti-5G USB key that -- not surprisingly -- appears to just be a regular USB stick with only 128MB of storage. As noted by the BBC today, the "5GBioShield" USB stick "was recommended by a member of Glastonbury Town Council's 5G Advisory Committee, which has called for an inquiry into 5G." The company that sells 5GBioShield claims it "is the result of the most advanced technology currently available for balancing and prevention of the devastating effects caused by non-natural electric waves, particularly (but not limited to) 5G, for all biological life forms." The product's website charges 283 British pounds for a single 5GBioShield, which converts to nearly $350. That's what it costs to get "protection for your home and family, thanks to the wearable holographic nano-layer catalyser, which can be worn or placed near to a smartphone or any other electrical, radiation or EMF emitting device." The USB stick apparently doesn't need to be plugged in to anything to work its magic. "It is always ON and working -- that's why we used quantum nano-layer technology," the company says in an FAQ. But what does the 5GBioShield actually consist of? The BBC pointed to a recent teardown by security company Pen Test Partners, which found that the device is just a USB stick with 128MB of storage. The company wrote: "When plugged in to our test machine we may have missed the bubble of 'quantum holographic catalyzer technology' appearing. The stick comes loaded with a 25 page PDF version of the material from 5GBioShield's website. It included a Q&A of distances for the "bubble" and how to know if it is working. It's an "always on" system apparently, is always working, powered or not, so no visual checks needed. A review of the stick's properties revealed nothing more than what you'd expect from a regular 128MB USB key. We weren't even sure that 128s are still in production!" The report says that the London Trading Standards has launched a probe to investigate this product. How will the company defend itself? BioShield Distribution Director Anna Grochowalska told the BBC, "We are in possession of a great deal of technical information, with plenty of back-up historical research," and "we are not authorized to fully disclose all this sensitive information to third parties, for obvious reasons."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek

Latest weekly Apple Pay promotion offers 30% purchases from Ray-Ban

9to5Mac - Thu, 05/28/2020 - 19:17

Apple has returned with a new weekly Apple Pay promotion. This time, you can get 30% off custom sunglasses or eyeglasses from Ray-Ban when you check out with Apple Pay.

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Categories: Geek

The Most Powerful Raspberry Pi Now Has 8GB of RAM

Slashdot - Thu, 05/28/2020 - 18:45
The Raspberry Pi Foundation has doubled the maximum amount of RAM available in the Raspberry Pi 4 to 8GB with a new device it's selling for $75. An anonymous reader writes: To take advantage of the RAM increase, the foundation is also releasing a new 64-bit version of its operating system in early beta. The new Raspberry Pi 4 is otherwise identical to the device that was announced in June last year, meaning it has the same ARM-based CPU, and HDMI, USB 3, and Ethernet ports. 8GB is a lot of RAM considering the Raspberry Pi's size and price. It's the same as many flagship smartphones released this year, and enough for an entry-level gaming PC. The Raspberry Pi Foundation says the additional memory should be useful for compiling large pieces of software, running heavy server workloads, or maybe just having more browser tabs open at once. We're sure that it won't take long for the community to come up with many interesting uses.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek

Why You Shouldn't Make a Habit of Force-Quitting iOS Apps or Restarting iOS Devices

Slashdot - Thu, 05/28/2020 - 18:05
Adam Engst, writing for TidBITS: Because force-quitting apps and restarting or shutting down devices are necessary only to fix unanticipated problems, there are two notable downsides to engaging in such behavior as a matter of habit: reduced battery life and wasted time. Why would these behaviors reduce battery life? Remember, iOS is a modern operating system that's built on top of Apple's proprietary hardware. Apple has put a great deal of effort into ensuring that iOS knows the best ways to manage the limited hardware resources within your iPhone or iPad. No one, possibly short of an iOS systems engineer armed with Apple's internal diagnostic and debugging tools, would be able to outguess iOS itself on issues like memory usage, power draw, and CPU throttling. When you invoke the App Switcher in iOS, you can swipe right to see all the apps you've used, possibly since you got your device. (The very first app in my iPhone 11 Pro's App Switcher is Apple's Tips, which I think came up automatically when I turned the iPhone on last year and hasn't been touched since. It's difficult to count apps in the App Switcher, but I probably have at least a hundred in there.) As the number of apps in the App Switcher should indicate, those apps are not necessarily running -- they merely have run at some point in the past. They're much more like the contents of the Mac's Apple > Recent Items menu. In normal usage, iOS devotes the lion's share of CPU and memory resources to the app that you're using. That's sensible -- the performance of that app is paramount. However, the next few apps in the App Switcher may also be consuming some CPU and memory resources. That's because iOS correctly assumes that you're most likely to return to them, and it wants to give you the best experience when you do. The screen shouldn't have to redraw multiple times, Internet-loaded content shouldn't have to update, and so on. [...]

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Categories: Geek

Federal judge dismisses copyright lawsuit against Apple and M. Night Shyamalan

iDownloadBlog - Thu, 05/28/2020 - 17:23

A federal judge has tossed out a copyright lawsuit against Apple and director M. Night Shyamalan related to the Apple TV+ series "Servant".
Categories: Geek

Trump Signs Executive Order Targeting Protections For Social Media Platforms

Slashdot - Thu, 05/28/2020 - 17:10
President Trump signed an executive order on Thursday designed to limit the legal protections that shield social media companies from liability for the content users post on their platforms. Axios reports: "Currently, social media giants like Twitter received unprecedented viability shield based on the theory that they are a neutral platform, which they are not," Trump said in the Oval Office. "We are fed up with it. It is unfair, and it's been very unfair." The order comes after the president escalated his attacks against Big Tech in recent days -- specifically Twitter, which fact-checked him for the first time this week over an unsubstantiated claim that mail-in voting drives voter fraud. The order focuses on a portion of the Communications Decency Act known as Section 230, which grants broad liability protections to tech platforms from civil suits when it comes to what users post, and would press regulators to create new rules aimed at pulling back that shield, Trump said at the White House Thursday. It also asks the Federal Trade Commission to report on acts of political bias collected by the White House, he added. Attorney General Bill Barr said that the administration is preparing legislation as well. The Trump administration has long mulled reining in Section 230, and the Justice Department convened a workshop earlier this year on the topic. Trump said he expects the executive order to draw a lawsuit.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek

Amazon To Offer Permanent Roles To 70% of 175,000 New US Hires

Slashdot - Thu, 05/28/2020 - 16:45
Amazon plans to offer permanent jobs to about 70% of the U.S. workforce it has hired temporarily to meet consumer demand during the coronavirus pandemic, the company told Reuters on Thursday. From a report: The world's largest online retailer will begin telling 125,000 warehouse employees in June that they can keep their roles longer-term. The remaining 50,000 workers it has brought on will stay on seasonal contracts that last up to 11 months, a company spokeswoman said. The decision is a sign that Amazon's sales have increased sufficiently to justify an expanded workforce for order fulfillment, even as government lockdowns ease and rivals open their retail stores for pickup. Amazon started the hiring spree in March with a blog post appealing to workers laid off by restaurants and other shuttered businesses, promising employment "until things return to normal and their past employer is able to bring them back."

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Categories: Geek

China Rules Out Animal Market and Lab as Coronavirus Origin

Slashdot - Thu, 05/28/2020 - 16:05
Chinese scientists in recent days said they had ruled out both a laboratory and an animal market in the city of Wuhan as possible origins of the coronavirus pandemic, in their most detailed pushback to date against allegations from U.S. officials and others over what might have sparked it. From a report: The director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, at the center of allegations around a potential laboratory accident, Wang Yanyi, over the weekend told China Central Television that the coronavirus was significantly different from any live pathogen that has been studied at the institute and that there therefore was no chance it could have leaked from there. Separately, China's top epidemiologist said Tuesday that testing of samples from a Wuhan food market, initially suspected as a path for the virus's spread to humans, failed to show links between animals being sold there and the pathogen. Gao Fu, director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said in comments carried in Chinese state media, "It now turns out that the market is one of the victims." The comments, aimed at countering what Beijing perceives as efforts from top U.S. officials to focus solely on China, are unlikely to pacify critics. The Chinese officials didn't address fundamental issues, such as widespread evidence that China initially covered up the extent of the outbreak. In their calls for more global scientific collaboration to track the source of the virus, they also stopped short of endorsing widespread scientific belief that the coronavirus originated in China.

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Categories: Geek

Gal Gadot will star in Hedy Lamarr series for Apple TV+

iDownloadBlog - Thu, 05/28/2020 - 16:02

Gal Gadot will star in a new series from Sarah Treem based on the film legend Hedy Lamarr for Apple TV+.
Categories: Geek

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