Geek

Oracle's Allies Against Google Include Scott McNealy and America's Justice Department

Slashdot - Sun, 02/23/2020 - 15:45
America's Justice Department "has filed a brief in support of Oracle in its Supreme Court battle against Google over whether Java should have copyright protection," reports ZDNet: The Justice Department filed its amicus brief to the Supreme Court this week, joining a mighty list of briefs from major tech companies and industry luminaries — including Scott McNealy, co-founder of Sun, which Oracle bought in 2010, acquiring Sun-built Java in the process. While Microsoft, IBM and others have backed Google's arguments in the decade-long battle, McNealy, like the Justice Department, is opposing Google. McNealy called Google's description of how it uses Java packages a "woeful mischaracterization of the artful design of the Java packages" and "an insult to the hard-working developers at Sun who made Java such a success...." Joe Tucci, former CEO of now Dell-owned enterprise storage giant EMC, threw in his two cents against Google. "Accepting Google's invitation to upend that system by eliminating copyright protection for creative and original computer software code would not make the system better — it would instead have sweeping and harmful effects throughout the software industry," Tucci's brief reads. Oracle is also questioning the motives of Google's allies, reports The Verge: After filing a Supreme Court statement last week, Oracle VP Ken Glueck posted a statement over the weekend assailing the motives of Microsoft, IBM, and the CCIA industry group, all of which have publicly supported Google. Glueck's post comes shortly after two groups — an interdisciplinary panel of academics and the American Conservative Union Foundation — submitted legal briefs supporting Oracle. Both groups argued that Google should be liable for copying code from the Java language for the Android operating system. The ACUF argued that protecting Oracle's code "is fundamental to a well-ordered system of private property rights and indeed the rule of law itself...." Earlier this year, Google garnered around two dozen briefs supporting its position. But Oracle claims that in reality, "Google appears to be virtually alone — at least among the technology community." Glueck says Google's most prominent backers had ulterior motives or "parochial agendas"; either they were working closely with Google, or they had their own designs on Java... Even if you accept Oracle's arguments wholeheartedly, there's a long list of other Google backers from the tech community. Advocacy groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Center for Democracy and Technology signed on to amicus briefs last month, as did several prominent tech pioneers, including Linux creator Linus Torvalds and Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak. The CCIA brief was signed by the Internet Association, a trade group representing many of the biggest companies in Silicon Valley. Patreon, Reddit, Etsy, the Mozilla Corporation, and other midsized tech companies also backed a brief raising "fundamental concerns" about Oracle's assertions.

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Categories: Geek

Five staple iPhone apps that I use each day [Video]

9to5Mac - Sun, 02/23/2020 - 15:33

I have quite a few third-party apps installed on my iPhone, but there are several staple apps that I use regularly that I’d have a hard time doing without.

These apps include Apollo, the excellent full-featured Reddit client, NetNewWire, a legendary RSS reader reimagined for modern day iOS, and more. Watch our brief hands-on video walkthrough for a look at all five apps, and be sure to subscribe to 9to5mac for future installments. more…

The post Five staple iPhone apps that I use each day [Video] appeared first on 9to5Mac.

Categories: Geek

Logic Pros: Mastering the Plug-In Manager to create custom FX libraries, more

9to5Mac - Sun, 02/23/2020 - 15:07

Today we are exploring the Logic Plug-In Manager. This handy tool is built-in to Logic Pro X and allows us to manage the plethora of included plug-ins as well as all of your favorite third-party effects, instruments, and more. For years, Logic Pro X users were stuck with the app’s stock plug-in hierarchy system — an organized list of all the plug-ins currently enabled for your Logic Pro system — before Apple finally introduced a feature that allows for a custom-made directory. Whether you’re just getting started or already have a gigantic collection of third-party plugs, with Plug-In Manager we can completely customize the way we access our gear — making it significantly easier to get at them and subsequently providing a much more personalized experience for creatives. more…

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Categories: Geek

Would Star Trek's Transporters Kill and Replace You?

Slashdot - Sun, 02/23/2020 - 14:35
schwit1 quotes Syfy Wire: There is, admittedly, some ambiguity about precisely how Trek's transporters work. The events of some episodes subtly contradict events in others. The closest thing to an official word we have is the Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual, which states that when a person enters a transporter, they are scanned by molecular imaging scanners that convert a person into a subatomically deconstructed matter stream. That's all a fancy-pants way of saying it takes you apart, atom by atom, and converts your matter into energy. That energy can then be beamed to its destination, where it's reconstructed. According to Trek lore, we're meant to believe this is a continuous process. Despite being deconstructed and rebuilt on the other end, you never stop being "you...." [Alternately] the fact that you are scanned, deconstructed, and rebuilt almost immediately thereafter only creates the illusion of continuity. In reality, you are killed and then something exactly like you is born, elsewhere. If the person constructed on the other end is identical to you, down to the atomic level, is there any measurable difference from it being actually you? Those are questions we can't begin to answer. What seems clear — whatever the technical manual says — is you die when you enter a transporter, however briefly. The article also cites estimates that it would take three gigajoules of energy (about one bolt of lightning) to disassemble somebody's atoms, and 10 to the 28th power kilobytes to then hold all that information -- and 2.6 tredecillion bits of data to transmit it. "The estimated time to transmit, using the standard 30 GHz microwave band used by communications satellites, would take 350,000 times longer than the age of the universe."

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Safari Will Stop Trusting Certs Older Than 13 Months

Slashdot - Sun, 02/23/2020 - 13:34
"Safari will, later this year, no longer accept new HTTPS certificates that expire more than 13 months from their creation date..." writes the Register. Long-time Slashdot reader nimbius shares their report: The policy was unveiled by the iGiant at a Certification Authority Browser Forum (CA/Browser) meeting on Wednesday. Specifically, according to those present at the confab, from September 1, any new website cert valid for more than 398 days will not be trusted by the Safari browser and instead rejected. Older certs, issued prior to the deadline, are unaffected by this rule. By implementing the policy in Safari, Apple will, by extension, enforce it on all iOS and macOS devices. This will put pressure on website admins and developers to make sure their certs meet Apple's requirements — or risk breaking pages on a billion-plus devices and computers... The aim of the move is to improve website security by making sure devs use certs with the latest cryptographic standards, and to reduce the number of old, neglected certificates that could potentially be stolen and re-used for phishing and drive-by malware attacks... We note Let's Encrypt issues free HTTPS certificates that expire after 90 days, and provides tools to automate renewals.

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Categories: Geek

Flat-Earth Daredevil Mad Mike Hughes Dies in Homemade Rocket Launch

Slashdot - Sun, 02/23/2020 - 12:34
"He was working on a TV show, Homemade Astronauts, when his craft crashed in the California desert," reports NBC. Four different Slashdot readers shared the news. NBC News reports: Daredevil "Mad" Mike Hughes died Saturday when a homemade rocket he was attached to launched but quickly dove to earth in the California desert. The stunt was apparently part of a forthcoming television show, "Homemade Astronauts," that was scheduled to debut later this year on Discovery Inc.'s Science Channel. Discovery confirmed the 64-year-old's death in a statement. "It was always his dream to do this launch, and Science Channel was there to chronicle his journey," the company said... In 2018, he successfully launched himself about 1,875 feet into the sky above the Mojave desert via a garage-made rocket. His landing that year was softened when he deployed a parachute. In social media video of Saturday's accident, a parachute-like swath of fabric can be seen flying away from the rocket shortly after blast-off.

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Categories: Geek

American Lawmakers Launch Investigations Into Ring's Police Deals

Slashdot - Sun, 02/23/2020 - 11:34
A U.S. Congressional subcommittee is now "pursuing a deeper understanding of how Ring's partnerships with local and state law enforcement agencies mesh with the constitutional protections Americans enjoy against unbridled police surveillance," reports Gizmodo: Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, chairman of the House Oversight and Reform subcommittee on economic and consumer policy, is seeking to learn why, in more than 700 jurisdictions, police have signed contracts that surrender control over what city officials can say publicly about the Amazon-owned company... "In one instance, Ring is reported to have edited a police department's press release to remove the word 'surveillance,'" the letter says, citing a Gizmodo report from last fall. But that's just the beginning, reports Ars Technica: Congress wants a list of every police deal Ring actually has, the House Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy wrote in a letter (PDF) dated February 19. After that, the Subcommittee wants to know... well, basically everything. The request for information asks for documentation relating to "all instances in which a law enforcement agency has requested video footage from Ring," as well as full lists of all third-party firms that get any access to Ring users' personal information or video footage. Ring is also asked to send over copies of every privacy notice, terms of service, and law enforcement guideline it has ever had, as well as materials relating to its marketing practices and any potential future use of facial recognition. And last but not least, the letter requests, "All documents that Ring or Amazon has produced to state attorneys general, the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Justice, or Congress in response to investigations into Ring...." The company in the fall pulled together a feel-good promotional video comprising images of children ringing Ring doorbells to trick-or-treat on Halloween. It is unclear if Ring sought consent to use any of the clearly visible images of the children or their parents shown in that video... Ring has also faced pressure to describe its plans for future integration of facial recognition systems into its devices. While the company has stated repeatedly that it has no such integration, documents and video promotional materials obtained by reporters in the past several months show that the company is strongly looking into it for future iterations of the system... The House letter gives Amazon a deadline of March 4 to respond with all the requested documentation. Amazon responded by cutting the price of a Ring doorbell camera by $31 -- and offering to also throw in one of Amazon's Alexa-enabled "Echo Dot" smart speakers for free.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek

Smooth vector wallpaper pack for iPhone

iDownloadBlog - Sun, 02/23/2020 - 11:00

Rounding out our February collection, these smooth vector wallpapers include gradients, vibrant hues, opactity transitions, and make incredible images.
Categories: Geek

This week’s top stories: Apple March event rumors, default apps on iOS, iPhone 9, and more

9to5Mac - Sun, 02/23/2020 - 10:52

In this week’s top stories: A fake iPhone 9 makes the rounds, new iOS 13.4 beta, watchOS 6.1.3 is released for everyone, March Apple keynote rumors, and more. Read on for all of this week’s biggest news.
more…

The post This week’s top stories: Apple March event rumors, default apps on iOS, iPhone 9, and more appeared first on 9to5Mac.

Categories: Geek

FizzBuzz 2.0: Pragmatic Programming Questions For Software Engineers

Slashdot - Sun, 02/23/2020 - 10:34
A former YC partner co-founded a recruiting company for technical hiring, and one of its software engineers is long-time Slashdot reader compumike. He now writes: Like the decade-old Fizz Buzz Test, there are some questions that are trivial for anyone who can build software at a professional level, but are likely to stump anyone who can't hack it. I analyzed the data from over 100,000 programmers to reveal how five multiple-choice questions easily separate the real software engineers from the rest. The questions (and the data about correct answers) come from Triplebyte's own coder-recruiting quiz, and "98% of successful engineers answer at least 4 of 5 correctly," explains Mike's article. ("Successful" engineers are defined as those who went on to receive an inbound message from a company matching their preferences through Triplebyte's platform.) "I'm confident that if you're an engineering manager running an interview, you wouldn't give an offer to someone who performed below that line." Question 1: What kind of SQL statement retrieves data from a table? LOOKUPREADFETCHSELECT

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Categories: Geek

How Peloton Bricked the Screens On Flywheel's Stationary Bikes

Slashdot - Sun, 02/23/2020 - 09:34
DevNull127 writes: Let me get this straight. Peloton's main product is a stationary bicycle costing over $2,000 with a built-in touchscreen for streaming exercise classes. ("A front facing camera and microphone mean you can interact with friends and encourage one another while you ride," explained the Kickstarter campaign which helped launch the company in 2013, with 297 backers pledging $307,332.) Soon after they went public last summer, Bloomberg began calling them "the unprofitable fitness company whose stock has been skidding," adding "The company is working on a new treadmill that will cost less than the current $4,000 model, as well as a rowing machine." Last March they were also sued for $150 million for using music in workout videos without proper licensing, according to the Verge — which notes that the company was then valued at $4 billion. And then this week Vice reported on what happened to one of their competitors. "Flywheel offered both in-studio and in-home stationary bike classes similar to Peloton. Peloton sued Flywheel for technology theft, claiming Flywheel's in-home bikes were too similar to Peloton's. Flywheel settled out of court and, as part of that settlement, it's pointing people to Peloton who is promising to replace the $2,000 Flywheel bikes with refurbished Pelotons... When Peloton delivers these replacement bikes, it'll also haul away the old Flywheels." The Verge reports that one Flywheel customer who'd been enjoying her bike since 2017 "received an email from Peloton, not Flywheel, informing her that her $1,999 bike would no longer function by the end of next month." "It wasn't like Flywheel gave us any option if you decide not to take the Peloton," she says. "Basically it was like: take it or lose your money. They didn't even attempt to fix it with their loyal riders. It felt like a sting."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek

Jailbreak tweaks of the week: Dots 2, Gravitation, Springtomize 5, and more…

iDownloadBlog - Sun, 02/23/2020 - 09:30

Looking for some new jailbreak tweaks for your pwned iPhone or iPad? If so, then you've come to the right place.
Categories: Geek

Comment: My essential Mac apps for 2020 include Fantastical, AirBuddy, and more

9to5Mac - Sun, 02/23/2020 - 09:00

2020 is the tenth anniversary of the iPad, so there has been a lot of discussion around the best app along with ways to get the most out of the platform and be more productive. However, the Mac is still a great place to work, play, and learn. If you are picking up your first Mac, upgrading from an old one, or just looking to become more efficient, I want to run through some of my essential Mac apps that I am using this year.

more…

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Categories: Geek

Signing Up With Amazon, Wal-Mart, Or Uber Forfeits Your Right To Sue Them

Slashdot - Sun, 02/23/2020 - 07:34
Long-time Slashdot reader DogDude shared this article from CNN: Tucked into the sign-up process for many popular e-commerce sites and apps are dense terms-of-service agreements that legal experts say are changing the nature of consumer transactions, creating a veil of secrecy around how these companies function. The small print in these documents requires all signatories to agree to binding arbitration and to clauses that ban class actions. Just by signing up for these services, consumers give up their rights to sue companies like Amazon, Uber and Walmart before a jury of their peers, agreeing instead to undertake a private process overseen by a paid arbitrator... The proliferation of apps and e-commerce means that such clauses now cover millions of everyday commercial transactions, from buying groceries to getting to the airport... Consumers are "losing access to the courthouse," said Imre Szalai, a law professor at Loyola University New Orleans.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek

Give Control Center a rounder aesthetic with RoundedCC

iDownloadBlog - Sun, 02/23/2020 - 07:30

RoundedCC transforms your jailbroken handset's Control Center interface by giving it a much rounder aesthetic.
Categories: Geek

Editor’s Desk: iOS 13.4 goodies, the next Apple TV, coronavirus and Apple product delays, more

iDownloadBlog - Sun, 02/23/2020 - 07:12

Welcome to a new installment of our Editor's Desk weekly column in which we round up content that was published on the site from February 17 through February 23, 2020.
Categories: Geek

Runaway displays your current internet speed in the Status Bar

iDownloadBlog - Sun, 02/23/2020 - 07:00

Runaway is a new jailbreak tweak that displays your current data bandwidth usage in the Status Bar, just beneath the time.
Categories: Geek

Will Low-Code and No-Code Platforms Revolutionize Programming?

Slashdot - Sun, 02/23/2020 - 03:34
In a new article in Forbes, a Business Technology professor at the Villanova School of Business argues that the way we build software applications is changing: If you're living in the 21st century you turn to your cloud provider for help where many of the most powerful technologies are now offered as-a-service. When your requirements cannot be completely fulfilled from cloud offerings, you build something. But what does "building" mean? What does "programming" mean...? You can program from scratch. You can go to Github (where you can find code of all flavors). Or you can — if you're a little lazier — turn to low-code or no-code programming platforms to develop your applications. All of this falls under the umbrella of what, the Gartner Group defines as the "democratization of expertise": "Democratization is focused on providing people with access to technical expertise (for example, ML, application development) or business domain expertise (for example, sales process, economic analysis) via a radically simplified experience and without requiring extensive and costly training...." [T]he new repositories, platforms and tools are enabling a whole new set of what we used to call "programming." As Satya Nadella said, "Every business will become a software business, build applications, use advanced analytics and provide SAAS services," and as Sajjad Daya says so well in Hackernoon, "Coding takes too long for it to be both profitable and competitively priced. That's not the case with no-code platforms, though. The platforms do the complicated programming automatically, slashing development time..." The technology democracy has forever changed corporate strategy. And what does this mean? It means that the technical team scales on cue. But "technical" means competencies around Github, low-code/no-code platforms and especially business domains... [A]ll of this levels the technology playing field among companies — so long as they understand the skills and competencies they need.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek

Nonprofit Argues Germany Can't Ratify the 'Unitary Patent' Because of Brexit

Slashdot - Sun, 02/23/2020 - 00:34
Long-time Slashdot reader zoobab shares this update from the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure, a Munich-based non-profit opposing ratification of a "Unified Patent Court" by Germany. They argue such a court will "validate and expand software patents in Europe," and they've come up with a novel argument to stop it. "Germany cannot ratify the current Unitary Patent due to Brexit..." The U.K. is now a "third state" within the meaning of AETR case-law, [which] makes clear that: "Each time the Community, with a view to implementing a common policy envisaged by the Treaty, adopts provisions laying down common rules, whatever form they may take, the Member States no longer have the right, acting individually or even collectively, to undertake obligations with third countries which affect those rules or alter their scope..." This practically means that the ratification procedure for the Agreement on the Unified Patent Court must now come to an end, as that Agreement no longer applies due to the current significant changes (i.e. Brexit) in the membership requirements of its own ratification rules. The nonprofit also argues that the Unitary Patent "is a highly controversial and extreme issue, as it allows new international patent courts to have the last word on the development and application of patent law and industrial property monopolies including, more seriously, the validation and expansion of software patents, that is the key sector on which whole industries and markets depend."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek

Russian Trolls Now Just Push Divisive Content Created By Others

Slashdot - Sat, 02/22/2020 - 21:34
"Americans don't need Russia's polarizing influence operations. They are plenty good enough at dividing themselves," writes the Atlantic's national security reporter, arguing that "the new face of Russian propaganda" is just a carefully-curated selection of inflammatory content made by Americans themselves. Citing the Mueller investigation, the article notes the irony that America's two front-runners for the presidency are now "both candidates Russian trolls sought to promote in 2016," calling them "far apart ideologically but nearly equally suited to the Kremlin's interests, both in being divisive at home and in encouraging U.S. restraint abroad." In 2016, the Kremlin invested heavily in creating memes and Facebook ads designed to stoke Americans' distrust of the electoral system and one another... The Russian government is still interfering, but it doesn't need to do much creative work anymore... Americans are now the chief suppliers of the material that suspected Russia-linked accounts use to stoke anger ahead of U.S. elections, leaving Russia free to focus on pushing it as far as possible. Darren Linvill, a Clemson University professor who has studied Russian information operations, has seen Russian trolls shift tactics to become "curators more than creators," with the same goal of driving Americans apart. "The Russians love those videos," he said, "because they function to make us more disgusted with one another...." [The article cites actions by Russia's "Internet Research Agency" in America's 2018 elections.] The organization was still creating memes, and it got an even bigger budget, according to Graham Brookie, the director of the Digital Forensic Research Lab at the Atlantic Council think tank. But it also began using more of what Americans themselves were putting on the internet, seizing on divisive debates about immigration, gun control, and police shootings of unarmed black men, using real news stories to highlight genuine anger and dysfunction in American politics... Russian trolls can largely just watch Americans fight among themselves, and use fictitious Twitter personas to offer vigorous encouragement... They will keep prodding the same bruises in American society, or encouraging cries of electoral fraud if there's a contested Democratic primary or a tight general election. Alina Polyakova, the president and CEO of the Center for European Policy Analysis, tells the Atlantic that "a U.S. that's mired in its own domestic problems and not engaged in the world benefits Moscow."

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