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Updated: 17 hours 37 min ago

DuckDuckGo Is Giving Away $225,000 To Support Open Source Projects

Wed, 05/04/2016 - 18:31
An anonymous reader writes: Google Search competitor DuckDuckGo announced it will be giving away a total of $225,000 to support nine open source projects, each project will receive $25,000. DuckDuckGo said it performed 3 billion searches in 2015. It differs from many other search engines as it offers private, anonymous internet search. It doesn't gather information about you to sell ads to marketeers, like Google. Instead, it shows generic ads as it's part of the Microsoft/Bing/Yahoo ad network. It also has revenue-sharing agreements with certain companies in the Linux Open Source worlds, and makes money from select affiliate links. The $225,000 DuckDuckGo is giving away is chump change compared to the $100 million Google gives away in grants ever year. However, for the select projects, it should still be very beneficial. Last year, DuckDuckGo gave away a total of $125,000 to open source projects, so it's nice to see them donate an extra $100,000 to a good cause.

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Microsoft Overhauls SharePoint To Compete With Slack In The Mobile Era

Wed, 05/04/2016 - 17:48
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Microsoft is overhauling SharePoint today, and introducing iOS, Android, and Windows 10 Mobile apps. The iOS SharePoint app will arrive by the end of June, with the Android and Windows 10 Mobile versions due for release later this year. All of the mobile apps are designed to make SharePoint more accessible on the go, allowing users to access things like corporate intranet sites and content. Alongside the new apps, Microsoft is also providing access to SharePoint Online document libraries in OneDrive mobile apps, and the ability to copy from OneDrive to SharePoint. Microsoft plans to synchronize SharePoint Online document libraries with the new OneDrive sync client by the end of the year, and integrate SharePoint sites with Office 365 Groups. Microsoft's new Flow service, which lets you automate tasks, will also be integrated into SharePoint by the end of the year.

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Man Sets World Record With 25 Continuous Hours In Virtual Reality

Wed, 05/04/2016 - 17:05
An anonymous reader writes: Derek Westerman has made it in the Guinness Book of World Records by spending 25 straight hours in virtual reality. He used the HTC Vive and spent his entire time playing Tilt Brush. "Guinness has a whole set of rules and regulations, one of those being 'one game only the whole time.' I wanted to pick something that gave me the most freedom," Westerman says, "And painting in 3D space for 25 hours seemed like the best bet." At around the 17th hour mark, Westerman reportedly experienced some vertigo and threw up into a bucket provided for him by an assistant. The same bucket was used around the 6th hour mark when Westerman had to urinate. Then around the 21st hour, he starts babbling incoherently while waving the Vive controllers around, saying at one point, "I don't know where I'm at..." The video of the event has been released on Wednesday, even though Guinness lists the record as being achieved on April 7th.

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In Search Of A Healthy Gut, One Man Turned To An Extreme DIY Fecal Transplant

Wed, 05/04/2016 - 16:22
Josiah Zayner writes: Arielle Duhaime-Ross at The Verge followed Dr. Josiah Zayner, a former Scientist at NASA turned BioHacker, as he attempted the first ever full-body microbiome transplant. She writes "Over the course of the next four days, Zayner would attempt to eradicate the trillions of microbes that lived on and inside his body -- organisms that helped him digest food, produce vitamins and enzymes, and protected his body from other, more dangerous bacteria. Ruthlessly and methodically, he would try to render himself into a biological blank slate. Then, he would inoculate himself with a friend's microbes -- a procedure he refers to as a 'microbiome transplant.'".

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'Largest Recall In American History': Takata To Recall Nearly 70 Million Airbags

Wed, 05/04/2016 - 15:39
An anonymous reader writes: Federal regulators are ordering Japanese supplier Takata to recall as many as 40 million additional airbags linked to a defect already blamed for at least 11 deaths, bringing the total number of faulty airbags in the U.S. to 69 million. Previously, the recall involved about 24 million vehicles sold in the U.S. over roughly the last decade, with 14 manufacturers impacted. With the latest recall, almost every other major carmaker will now be pulled. "This is the largest recall in American history," National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator Mark Rosekind told reporters on Wednesday. Initial estimates said 35-40 million airbags were to be recalled. And because some vehicles use more than one Takata airbag, the total number of vehicles will likely be smaller. Now it's considered highly likely that the total number of cars, trucks and crossovers will now top the 50 million mark, and as many as a quarter of all vehicles on U.S. roads could be covered. The NHTSA has reported that just over 8 million vehicles had been fixed as of April 22. The airbags have so far been tied to at least 10 U.S. deaths and more than 100 injuries -- two more fatalities in Malaysia were confirmed Wednesday. "The exploding airbags can send shrapnel into the faces and necks of victims, leaving them looking as if they had been shot or stabbed," according to Fox 59.

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YouTube To Launch 'Unplugged' Online TV Service In 2017

Wed, 05/04/2016 - 14:56
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: YouTube is working on a paid subscription service called Unplugged that would offer customers a bundle of cable TV channels streamed over the Internet, people familiar with the plan said. The project, for which YouTube has already overhauled its technical architecture, is one of the online video giant's biggest priorities and is slated to debut as soon as 2017, one of the people said. YouTube executives have discussed these plans with most major media companies, including Comcast Corp.'s NBCUniversal, Viacom Inc., Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. and CBS Corp., but have yet to secure any rights, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. There are reportedly several different ways YouTube could package TV channels in the service. "In one scenario, it would build a bundle of channels with the four U.S. broadcast networks and a smattering of popular cable channels, a concept known in the industry as a skinny bundle," reports Bloomberg. "YouTube has also discussed offering a collection of less-watched TV channels and creating smaller groups of channels around themes. A YouTube Unplugged comedy bundle might include three or four TV channels such as Comedy Central, while a lifestyle bundle might include the Style Network." Apparently, sources familiar with the matter said YouTube would charge one subscription for the main bundle, and extra, smaller monthly fees for said theme-based groups.

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Robot Stitches Tissue By Itself Without A Real Doctor Pulling The Strings

Wed, 05/04/2016 - 14:13
An anonymous reader writes: Scientists have created a robotic system that is capable of stitching up tissue in living animals without a human doctor pulling the strings. Wednesday's research brings us one step closer toward autonomous surgical robots. While doctors did supervise the robot, the robot performed as well, and in some cases a bit better, as some competing surgeons in stitching together intestinal tissue of pigs used in the tests. Wednesday's project is "the first baby step toward true autonomy," said Dr. Umamaheswar Duvvuri of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. He cautioned others to not expect to see doctors leave entire operations in a robot's digital hands -- yet. The tissue-stitching robot is designed to do one specific tasks, similar to machines in other industries. For example, robot arms do the welding and painting in most U.S. car assembly lines. The Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot (STAR) system is equipped with suturing equipment plus smart imaging technologies to let it track moving tissue in 3D and with an equivalent of night vision. Sensors have been added to help guide each stitch and tell how tightly to pull. All the surgeons have to do is place fluorescent markers on the tissue that needs stitching, and the robot takes aim. Human studies should begin within the next few years. The STAR system is just one of many up and coming robots to put surgery into the hands of non-surgeons.

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Google Encrypts All Blogspot Domains With HTTPS

Wed, 05/04/2016 - 13:30
Reader Mickeycaskill writes: Google is continuing its crusade to encrypt the web by enabling an HTTPS version of every single domain hosted on Blogspot. The search giant started the rollout last September, but as an opt-in service. Now users can opt to visit an HTTPS version of a site without its participation, while administrators can turn on an automatic redirect so all visitors are sent to the encrypted version. "HTTPS is fundamental to internet security; it protects the integrity and confidentiality of data sent between websites and visitors' browsers," said Milanda Perera, security software engineer at Google. Google already encrypts its search results, Google Drive and Gmail, while it also ranks HTTPS-enabled sites higher in the search. Blogspot rival WordPress began rolling out HTTPS in 2014.

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Students Can Now Fly Drones At School, FAA Says

Wed, 05/04/2016 - 13:00
An anonymous reader writes: It will now be easier for students to pilot drones as part of their schoolwork, thanks to new Federal Aviation Administration rules that exempt high schools and colleges from the more stringent aircraft regulations placed on businesses. In a memo released Wednesday outlining the new guidelines, federal regulators have designated drone schoolwork as a hobby or recreational -- as opposed to commercial -- activity, allowing students for the first time to fly unmanned aircraft without a pilot's license or special authorization from the government. "Schools and universities are incubators for tomorrow's great ideas, and we think this is going to be a significant shot in the arm for innovation," said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta during a drone conference in New Orleans. But the agency's policy prohibits teachers from being the primary operators of unmanned aircraft, because they are paid for their work and therefore "would not be engaging in a hobby or recreational activity" while flying a drone. (They can, however, pilot drones in a limited way -- in case of emergency, for instance.)

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No One Should Have To Use Proprietary Software To Communicate With Their Government

Wed, 05/04/2016 - 12:20
Donald Robertson, writing for Free Software Foundation: Proprietary JavaScript is a threat to all users on the Web. When minified, the code can hide all sorts of nasty items, like spyware and other security risks. [...] On March 1st, 2016, the Copyright Office announced a call for comments on an update to their technology infrastructure. We submitted a comment urging them to institute a policy that requires all software they develop and distribute to be free software. Further, we also urged them to not require people to run proprietary software in order to communicate or submit comments to them. Unfortunately, once again, the Copyright Office requires the use of proprietary JavaScript in order to submit the comment and they are only accepting comments online unless a person lacks computer or Internet access. [...] The most absurd part of all this is that other government agencies, while still using Regulations.gov, are perfectly capable of offering alternatives to submission.

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Aging and Bloated OpenSSL Is Purged of 2 High-Severity Bugs

Wed, 05/04/2016 - 11:40
An anonymous reader cites a story on Ars Technica: Maintainers of the OpenSSL cryptographic library have patched high-severity holes that could make it possible for attackers to decrypt login credentials or execute malicious code on Web servers. The updates were released Tuesday morning for both versions 1.0.1 and 1.0.2 of OpenSSL, which a large portion of the Internet relies on to cryptographically protect sensitive Web and e-mail traffic using the transport layer security protocol. OpenSSL advisories labeled the severity of both vulnerabilities "high," meaning the updates fixing them should be installed as soon as possible. The fixes bring the latest supported versions to 1.0.1t and 1.0.2h. The decryption vulnerability is the result of what cryptographers call a padding oracle weakness, which allows attackers to repeatedly probe an encrypted payload for clues about the plaintext content inside. According to TLS expert Filippo Valsorda, the bug allows for only 16 bytes of encrypted traffic to be recovered, and even then only when an end user sends it repeatedly.

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Windows 10 Updates Are Now Ruining Pro-Gaming Streams

Wed, 05/04/2016 - 11:00
An anonymous reader cites a report on The Guardian: Perhaps there's nothing more annoying than going in for the kill to suddenly be "pooped on" by a Windows 10 automatic installation taking out your computer mid-stream to your 130,000 or so followers. After deciding to advertise during the weather by attempting to automatically install midway through a forecast, Windows 10 is starting to wreak havoc with gamers. Ex-professional Counter Strike player turned full-time streamer Erik Flom was rudely interrupted mid-game and live on Twitch by Windows 10 automatically installing on his PC. "What. What!? How did this happen! Fuck you Windows 10!" Flom said. "Oh my God! You had one job PC. We turned off everything. Update faster you fuck!"

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Are We Alone In the Universe? Not Likely, According To Math

Wed, 05/04/2016 - 10:20
An anonymous reader writes: An equation, which calculates the probability of the evolution of other technological civilizations, has found that it's wildly unlikely we're the only time advanced society in the universe. Adam Frank from the University of Rochester and Woodruff Sullivan from the University of Washington base their new equation on the Drake equation, used for calculating the probability of extraterrestrial civilisation, written by astronomer and astrophysicist Frank Drake in 1961. The scientists also take into account Kepler, which suggests that one in five stars have planets in the habitable zone. Frank and Sullivan calculated that human civilisation is only unique if the odds of a civilisation developing on a habitable planet are less than one in 10 billion trillion. "One in 10 billion trillion is incredibly small. To me, this implies that other intelligent, technology producing species very likely have evolved before us," Frank said. Frank said: "Of course, we have no idea how likely it is that an intelligent technological species will evolve on a given habitable planet. But using our method we can tell exactly how low that probability would have to be for us to be the ONLY civilization the Universe has produced. We call that the pessimism line. If the actual probability is greater than the pessimism line, then a technological species and civilization has likely happened before."

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John Kasich To Drop Out, Leaving Trump as GOP Nominee

Wed, 05/04/2016 - 09:40
Multiple outlets are reporting that Ohio Gov. John Kasich plans to suspend his run to be the GOP presidential nominee. The move, if happens, would make Donald Trump the presumptive nominee for the GOP. The report comes hours after Kasich abruptly cancelled a planned press conference (could be paywalled; alternate source) in Virginia on Wednesday morning. LA Times reports: Kasich, the Ohio governor, had pledged to continue campaigning as a Trump alternative who could deny the billionaire needed delegates. But on Wednesday, he canceled a news conference in Washington and planned an announcement for later in the day in Columbus, Ohio, to drop out. Vox has more details.

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Half Of Teens Think They're Addicted To Their Smartphones

Wed, 05/04/2016 - 09:00
An anonymous reader writes: A new poll confirms just how much teens depend on their phones. Fifty percent of teens feel they are addicted to their mobile devices, according to the poll, which was conducted for Common Sense Media, a nonprofit focused on helping children, parents, teachers and policymakers negotiate media and technology. A larger number of parents, 59%, said their teens were addicted. The poll involved 1,240 interviews with parents and their children, ages 12 to 18. "Technological addiction can happen to anyone," said digital detox expert Holland Haiis. "If your teens would prefer gaming indoors, alone, as opposed to going out to the movies, meeting friends for burgers or any of the other ways that teens build camaraderie, you may have a problem."

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Ted Cruz Drops Out Of The Republican Presidential Race

Tue, 05/03/2016 - 18:47
rmdingler writes: Ted Cruz drops out of the presidential race after losing in Indiana. Donald Trump has become the presumptive nominee before Hillary has locked things up versus Bernie. This is huge. Cruz's decision to drop out came after losing significantly to Trump in the Indiana primary. "I said I would continue on as long as there is a viable path to victory. Tonight I'm sorry to say, it appears that path has been foreclosed," Cruz told a small group of supporters Tuesday night. "Together we left it all on the field in Indiana. We gave it everything we got, but the voters chose another path." He said he would "continue to fight for liberty," but did not say whether or not he would support Trump as the nominee. The exit comes soon after he announced former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina as his running mate in a desperate move to keep his candidacy afloat.

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Apple Loses Exclusive Rights To 'iPhone' Trademark For Non-Smartphone Products In China

Tue, 05/03/2016 - 18:03
An anonymous reader quotes a report from AppleInsider: Adding to the company's problems in the region, Apple has lost exclusivity on the use of the "iPhone" trademark in China, and must now share it with Beijing-based leather products maker Xintong Tiandi Technology, reports said on Tuesday. On March 31, the Beijing Municipal High People's Court rejected an Apple appeal of an earlier ruling, according to Quartz. Xintong Tiandi is already selling a number of "IPHONE" products, including purses, passport cases, and most notably phone cases. The company registered its trademark in China in 2007, the same year as the Apple iPhone launched in the United States. That was, however, still five years after Apple registered the iPhone name in China for computer products, something which formed the basis of a 2012 complaint to the country's trademark authorities. In 2013 the government ruled that because Apple couldn't prove the name "IPHONE" was well-known prior to Xintong Tiandi's registration, the public wouldn't link its use in a way that would harm Apple interests. In rejecting Apple's appeal, the High People's Court further noted that the company didn't sell the iPhone in mainland China until 2009. This comes after Apple reported its first earnings decline in more than a decade.

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Google, Fiat Chrysler Plan Partnership On Self-Driving Minivans

Tue, 05/03/2016 - 17:20
An anonymous reader writes: Google and Fiat Chrysler were in "late stage talks" last week about working out a partnership where the two could build some self-driving cars together. Google has the tech available -- it just needs to partner with a car manufacturer, as Google hasn't mass-produced a car before, and could use the experience. A report coming out of Bloomberg says the two companies could be putting Google's autonomous driving technology into some prototypes of the upcoming Pacifica minivan. The report says Fiat Chrysler is looking to equip their upcoming plug-in hybrid Pacifica with Google's autonomous technology. Google could still work out a deal with Ford, which was rumored a few months ago, and they have been reportedly in talks with General Motors, but the deal with Chrysler could be signed as soon as today.

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Ellen Pao Launches Advocacy Group To Improve Diversity In The Tech Industry

Tue, 05/03/2016 - 16:37
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Ellen Pao, a former Silicon Valley venture capitalist, today announced the launch of Project Include, an advocacy group aimed at improving diversity in the technology industry. The group was started by Pao and fellow female engineers and executives, including members of Slack, Pinterest, and other Bay Area VC firms. The initiative will focus on providing startups and established tech companies with information on making hiring more inclusive, improving retention, and examining bias in the workplace. Pao became embroiled in one of the most divisive debates in tech last year after suing her former employer, VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, for gender discrimination. She lost at trial and, later, stepped down from her position as interim CEO of Reddit following a severe harassment campaign. Project Include is also accepting as many as 18 startups, who can apply to receive recommendations through a program called Start-Up Include.

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Slashdot Asks: What Do You Think Is The Most Influential Gadget Of All Time?

Tue, 05/03/2016 - 15:53
TIME has published a list ranking the 50 most influential gadgets of all time, from cameras and TVs to music players, smartphones, and drones. Can you guess what was the number one most influential gadget on the list? That's right, the Apple iPhone. "Apple was the first company to put a truly powerful computer in the pockets of millions when it launched the iPhone in 2007," according to TIME. "The iPhone popularized the mobile app, forever changing how we communicate, play games, shop, work, and complete many everyday tasks." There's a lot of interesting gadgets on the list that have had a profound impact on mankind in some form or another, for better or worse. Do you agree with TIME's number one choice? What do you think is the most influential gadget of all time?

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