Submitted via IRC for TheMightyBuzzard
A Czech court recently sentenced two hackers to three years in prison for accessing Vodafone customer's mobile accounts and use them to purchase 600,000 Czech Koruna worth of gambling services. Vodafone reportedly wants the hacked victim's to pay for these charges as they were using an easy password of "1234".
According to reporting from Czech news site idnes.cz, the hackers accessed mobile customer's accounts by using the password 1234. Once they were able to gain access, they ordered new SIM cards that they picked up from various branches. As they knew the phone number and password they were able to pick up the SIM card and install it in their phones without any other verification.
This allowed the attackers to charge over 600,000 Czech Koruna, or approximately 30K USD, for gambling services.
What do you lot think, should there be a blatant stupidity tax?
Media streaming service Plex is shutting down its cloud service at the end of November. The company is making the move because of technical issues and cost concerns. Once support ends, you'll have to stream media from your own server, computer or Network Attached Storage to your connected devices instead of your favored cloud storage service.
"We've made the difficult decision to shut down the Plex Cloud service on November 30th, 2018," Plex said on its support page. "As you may know, we haven't allowed any new Plex Cloud servers since February of this year, and since then we've been actively working on ways to address various issues while keeping costs under control. We hold ourselves to a high standard, and unfortunately, after a lot of investigation and thought, we haven't found a solution capable of delivering a truly first class Plex experience to Plex Cloud users at a reasonable cost."
Controversial new copyright laws have been approved by members of the European Parliament. The legislation had been changed since July when the first version of the copyright directive was voted down. Critics say it remains problematic. Many musicians and creators claim the reforms are necessary to fairly compensate artists. But opponents fear that the plans could destroy user-generated content, memes and parodies.
Are EU citizens ready for the link tax and upload filter?
Also at Polygon.
[Ed addition] Since this story was submitted, Ars Technica posted a story that delves into some of the implications of the new legislation; What's in the sweeping copyright bill just passed by the European Parliament:
The legislation makes online platforms like Google and Facebook directly liable for content uploaded by their users and mandates greater "cooperation" with copyright holders to police the uploading of infringing works. It also gives news publishers a new, special right to restrict how their stories are featured by news aggregators such as Google News. And it creates a new right for sports teams that could limit the ability of fans to share images and videos online.
Today's vote was not the end of Europe's copyright fight. Under the European Union's convoluted process for approving legislation, the proposal will now become the subject of a three-way negotiation involving the European Parliament, the Council of the Europe Union (representing national governments), and the European Commission (the EU's executive branch). If those three bodies agree to a final directive, then it will be sent to each of the 28 EU member countries (or more likely 27 thanks to Brexit) for implementation in national laws.
That means that European voters who are concerned—or excited—about this legislation still have a few more months to contact their representatives, both within their national governments and in the European Parliament.
[...] The legislation avoids mentioning any specific technological approach to policing online infringement, allowing supporters to plausibly claim that this is not a filtering mandate. Yet it seems pretty clear what this will mean in practice. Big content producers want to see YouTube beef up its Content ID filtering technology—and for other online platforms to adopt similar strategies. Shifting liability for infringement from users to the platforms themselves will give content companies a lot of leverage to get what they want here.
[...] Balancing fairness to content creators against fairness to users is inherently tricky. Rather than trying to address the issue directly, the European Parliament is simply pushing the issue down to the national level, letting governments in Germany, France, Poland, and other European governments figure out the messy details.
[...] In addition to approving new rights for news publishers, the legislation also narrowly approved a new copyright for the organizers of sports teams. Copyright law already gives teams the ability to sell television rights for their games, but fans have traditionally been free to take pictures or personal videos and share them online. The new legislation could give sports teams ownership of all images and video from their games, regardless of who took them and how they are shared.
This proposal would impose new obligations to hosting service providers, including the removal in less than an hour of the reported content. This proposal trivializes police and private censorship as well as the circumvention of justice. Automated filters, which play a crucial role in the debate for the Copyright Directive, are being held as a key component for the censorship in the digital era.
I thought this article from The Register was interesting; making out that the opposition to Article 13 is dominated by astroturfing led principally by Google.
Article 13 pits Big Tech and bots against European creatives by Andrew Orlowski
Today's vote on Article 13 of the EU Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market in European Parliament has turned into a knife-edge referendum on whether European institutions can deal with Californian exceptionalism.
[...] The tweaks to copyright liability in Article 13 before MEPs this week have narrowed after months of horsetrading in Brussels – and they don't name names, but they're really about one company and the unique legal benefits it enjoys. That company is Google, and the perks arise from the special conditions attached to UGC [User Generated Comments] that YouTube hosts, which were originally designed for services such as cloud storage.
[...] The battle of Article 13 is remarkable for revealing two things: the extent of US technology lobbying networks in Europe, and the use of tools of automated consensus generation [...] Around 60,000 emails were received by each MEP in the build up to the June vote, while Twitter engagement appeared to be high. [...] But "What looked like grassroots movement from the outside was in fact a classic form of astroturfing – designed to create the appearance of a popular movement," [German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung's Volker] Reick said.
Dubbed the Molar Mic, it's a small device that clips to your back teeth. The device is both microphone and "speaker," allowing the wearer to transmit without any conspicuous external microphone and receive with no visible headset or earpiece. Incoming sound is transmitted through the wearer's bone matter in the jaw and skull to the auditory nerves; outgoing sound is sent to a radio transmitter on the neck, and sent to another radio unit that can be concealed on the operator. From there, the signal can be sent anywhere.
The Molar Mic connects to its transmitter via near-field magnetic induction. It's similar to Bluetooth, encryptable, but more difficult to detect and able to pass through water.
Sonitus received early funding from In-Q-Tel, the nonprofit investment arm of the CIA, to develop the concept. Hadrovic declined to say whether CIA operatives had used the device in intelligence gathering. But the Molar Mic has seen the dust of Afghanistan and even played a role in rescue operations in the United States.
Submitted via IRC for TheMightyBuzzard
In our increasingly politicized world, it has become popular to chant "all software is political." Software builds the systems that free or constrain us, the thinking goes, and so we should withhold it from bad people. This is the thinking that has led Microsoft employees and others to decry contracts tech companies have with ICE (US Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement), insisting that their software only be sold to people they like.
[...] Over the years we as an open source community have experimented with all sorts of stupid ideas, like efforts to block anyone from using code for commercial purposes unless they pay. Each time, we've realized that as good a goal as it is for developers to get paid, for example, the destruction caused by closing off the code to uses we don't like ends up ruining the foundations upon which open source rests.
This is dramatically more important, however, when it comes to attempts to politicize open source software.
As developer Chris Cordle stated, "Nobody wins" and the "whole idea [undergirding open source] dies" ... "if an author arbitrarily picks and chooses who can and can't use it based on whoever Twittersphere is mad at this week." It doesn't matter if there is tremendous cause for that anger. Open source dies when it becomes politicized.
In the Salon
There seems to be a lot of science being thrown at the "Trump Phenomenon." Salon covers yet another, and interviews the author.
A new paper, recently presented at the American Political Science Association's annual convention, suggests a widespread motive driving people to share fake news, conspiracy theories and other hostile political rumors. "Many status-obsessed, yet marginalized individuals experience a 'Need for Chaos' and want to 'watch the world burn'," lead author Michael Petersen tweeted, announcing the availability of a preprint copy.
Truth, in such a worldview, is beside the point, which offers a new perspective on the limitations of fact-checking. The motivation behind sharing or spreading narratives one may not even believe can help make sense of a variety of threatening or confusing recent developments in advanced democracies. It also sheds light on disturbing similarities with outbreaks of ethnic or genocidal violence, such as those seen in Rwanda and the Balkan nations during the 1990s.
Preprint of the paper available at PsyArXiv, here. [DOI: 10.31234/osf.io/6m4ts]
Actuarial science, the formal term for the study of insurance, was ranked the most valuable college major, according to a Bankrate.com report released on Monday. Actuarial science majors earn an average annual salary of $108,658 and have a better-than-average unemployment rate at 2.3 percent. And at a time when student debt is at a record high, these graduates are less likely to incur the added expense of additional schooling and delayed earning potential. Less than 1 in 4 graduates pursue advanced degrees.
"The actuarial science profession is interesting because students don't need advanced degrees to gain livable wages, but instead are certified through a series of exams overseen by the industry's professional organizations," said Bankrate.com analyst Adrian Garcia in an interview. "Students typically pass one to two of these exams while in school and then go on and complete others while working, earning raises and bonuses as they pass."
The study ranked 162 majors with labor forces of at least 15,000 people based on average annual income, employment status and whether those graduates went on to pursue a higher degree within 12 months. Income accounted for 70 percent of the weighted ranking, unemployment for 20 percent and 10 percent was awarded to career paths that did not demand additional education. The data was derived from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2016 American Community Survey.
Source: Bloomberg News
If it feels as though Amazon's site is increasingly stuffed with ads, that's because it is. And it looks like that's working — at least for brands that are willing to fork over ad dollars as part of their strategy to sell on Amazon.
Amazon-sponsored product ads have been around since 2012. But lately, as the company has invested in growing its advertising business, they've become more aggressive.
[...] "Nobody is scrolling beyond the first page when they do a search," Jason Goldberg, SVP of commerce at SapientRazorfish, a digital marketing agency, told Recode. "If you want to be discoverable, you have to find a way to show up in search results."
To get that prime visibility, brands are responding with more cash. Spending on sponsored products in Amazon's search increased 165 percent in the second quarter of 2018 compared with a year earlier, according to data from marketing agency Merkle.
The competition for brands to bid on their own or others' keywords is fierce, and is leading toward what Goldberg called a "perfectly escalating arms race where all the trends are to spend more money to buy more ads to have better visibility on Amazon."
Amazon makes money every time consumers click on an ad — and it still gets to sell whatever people end up buying.
[...] Amazon would not comment on the growth or placement of sponsored ads, but offered this statement: "At Amazon we work hard to continually invent new ways for customers to find the right products to meet their needs. We take the same approach with sponsored products and sponsored brands. We are focused on creating value for customers by helping them discover new brands and products."
From The Register:
Five years have passed but the wounds left by the acquisition and dismemberment of Europe's biggest technology company at the hands of Microsoft remain open.
Nokia today is a considerable multinational, of course, booking €23.15bn in FY2017. But that's around half of what Nokia was at its peak in 2007 (€51.6bn). It's the intangibles that have been lost: Nokia was a trailblazer, the speaker of a global language that could sell electronics to every class or culture, and the pride of Finland – a nation most Americans couldn't find on a map before the 1990s. Many probably still can't.
(On arriving in San Francisco in 1999, I remember my Chinese-American buildings manager, a great technology enthusiast, telling me: "I love Nokia – I love all Japanese technology.")
Almost all of the 32,000 employees of Nokia's phone division subsequently lost their jobs, and CEO Stephen Elop was personally vilified as the agent in an elaborate conspiracy theory.
[...] The axe soon started swinging.
It was painful. Nadella had wanted to cut the fat from Microsoft even without the addition of Nokia's phone unit – which included not just the smartphones but the dumbphones that Microsoft never wanted, too, as well as manufacturing plants in South Korea, China, Hungary, India, Mexico and Vietnam.
A giant ring of black holes has been discovered 300 million light-years away, offering new clues about what happens when galaxies collide. [...] The observed ring of black holes or neutron stars is believed to be the result of a galaxy collision. The galaxies were likely drawn together by gravity, and the gravitational force from one galaxy created waves in the gas surrounding its neighbor, which, in this case, is AM 0644. The ripples would have then caused the gas to expand or clump together in denser areas, triggering the birth of new stars.
"The most massive of these fledgling stars will lead short lives — in cosmic terms — of millions of years," representatives from the Chandra X-ray Observatory said in a statement. "After that, their nuclear fuel is spent, and the stars explode as supernovas, leaving behind either black holes with masses typically between about five to twenty times that of the sun, or neutron stars with a mass approximately equal to that of the sun." The black holes or neutron stars have close cosmic companions from which they siphon gas. This gas falls inward and is heated by friction, creating the bright X-rays detected by Chandra, according to the statement.
Also at Bad Astronomy.
LinkNYC kiosks have become a familiar eyesore to New Yorkers. Over 1,600 of these towering, nine-and-a-half-foot monoliths — their double-sided screens festooned with ads and fun facts — have been installed across the city since early 2016. Mayor Bill de Blasio has celebrated their ability to provide "the fastest and largest municipal Wi-Fi network in the world" as "a critical step toward a more equal, open, and connected city for every New Yorker, in every borough." Anyone can use the kiosks' Android tablets to search for directions and services; they are also equipped with charging stations, 911 buttons, and phones for free domestic calls.
But even as the kiosks have provided important services to connect New Yorkers, they may also represent a troubling expansion of the city's surveillance network, potentially connecting every borough to a new level of invasive monitoring. Each kiosk has three cameras, 30 sensors, and heightened sight lines for viewing above crowds.
[...] Now an undergraduate researcher has discovered indications in LinkNYC code — accidentally made public on the internet — that LinkNYC may be actively planning to track users' locations.
In May of this year, Charles Meyers, an undergraduate at New York City College of Technology, came across folders in LinkNYC's public library on GitHub, a platform for managing files and software, that appear to raise further questions about location tracking and the platform's protection of its users' data. Meyers made copies of the codebases in question — "LinkNYC Mobile Observation" and "RxLocation" — and shared both folders with The Intercept.
According to Meyers, the "LinkNYC Mobile Observation" code collects the user's longitude and latitude, as well as the user's browser type, operating system, device type, device identifiers, and full URL clickstreams (including date and time) and aggregates this information into a database. In Meyers's view, this code — along with the functions of the "RxLocation" codebase — suggests that the company is interested in tracking the locations of Wi-Fi users in real time.
[...] LinkNYC disputes these speculations. David Mitchell, Intersection's chief technology officer, told the Intercept that the code was never intended to be released and was part of a longer-term research and development process. "In this instance," he explained over email, "Intersection was prototyping and testing some ideas internally, using employee data only, and mistakenly made source code public on Github. This code is not in use on the LinkNYC network."
Source: The Intercept
PC World has an article on why USB-C has not been a viable alternative for the 3.5mm audio jack. Problems with USB-C include variable handling of digital to audio conversion, incompatible SOCs inside the cable, and non-standard analog-passthrough. In short, the cables which contain computers themselves are not standardized in behavior and the author's conclusion is that mobile devices must have 3.5mm jacks until the USB-C cable technology gets sorted out enough that they become usable.
Submitted via IRC for takyon
Continuing on from the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 expectations on Linux shared earlier this week, here's a list of ten reasons why Linux gamers might want to pass on these soon-to-launch graphics cards from NVIDIA.
The list are various reasons you may want to think twice on these graphics cards -- at least not for pre-ordering any of them right away. Not all of them are specific to the Turing GPUs per se but also some NVIDIA Linux infrastructure problems or general Linux gaming challenges, but here's the list for those curious. And, yes, a list is coming out soon with reasons Linux users may want to consider the RTX 20 series -- well, mostly for developers / content creators it may make sense.
Here is the list:
- Lack of open-source driver support
- It will be a while before seeing RTX/ray-tracing Linux games
- Turing appears to be a fairly incremental upgrade outside of RTX
- The GeForce GTX 1080 series already runs very well
- Poor Wayland support
- The Linux driver support for Turing is unclear
- These graphics cards are incredibly expensive
- SLI is next to worthless on Linux
- VR Linux support is still in rough shape
- Pascal prices will almost surely drop
That's the quick list outside of my detailed pre-launch Linux analysis. A similar list of the pros for the RTX 20 series on Linux will be coming out shortly. It will certainly be interesting to see after 20 September how the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 20 series works on Linux.
I'm relatively new to Oregon, but one of the ways I know I'm starting to settle in is my ability to recognize marijuana shops. Some are easy. But others, with names like The Agrestic and Mr. Nice Guy, are a little trickier to identify for someone who hasn't spent much time in a state that has legalized marijuana.
A growing number of states have legalized both medical and recreational marijuana. At the same time, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are using the drug in increasing numbers. A 2017 JAMA study described both survey results and urine tests of nearly 280,000 pregnant women in Northern California, where medical marijuana was legalized in 1996. The study showed that in 2009, about 4 percent of the women tested used marijuana. In 2016, about 7 percent of women did. Those California numbers may be even higher now, since recreational marijuana became legal there this year.
Some of those numbers may be due in part to women using marijuana to treat their morning sickness, a more recent study by some of the same researchers suggests. Their report, published August 20 in JAMA Internal Medicine, found that pregnant women with severe nausea and vomiting were 3.8 times more likely to use marijuana than pregnant women without morning sickness.
So some pregnant women are definitely using the drug, and exposing their fetuses to it, too. Ingredients in marijuana are known to make their way to fetuses by crossing the placenta during pregnancy (and by entering breast milk after the baby is born). But what actually happens when those marijuana compounds arrive?
That's the question the American Academy of Pediatrics grapples with in a clinical report published in the August issue of Pediatrics. In an effort to provide guidance to caregivers and women, the AAP sums up the existing scientific literature on how marijuana affects mothers and babies.
In the Big Bang Disruption model, where innovations take off suddenly when markets are ready for them, Google Fiber could be seen as a failed early market experiment in gigabit internet access. But what if the company's goal was never to unleash the disrupter itself so much as to encourage incumbent broadband providers to do so, helping Google's expansion in adjacent markets such as video and emerging markets including smart homes? Seen through that lens, Google Fiber succeeded wildly. It stimulated the incumbents to accelerate their own infrastructure investments by several years. New applications and new industries emerged, including virtual reality and the Internet of Things, proving the viability of an "if you build it, they will come" strategy for gigabit services. And in the process, local governments were mobilized to rethink restrictive and inefficient approaches to overseeing network installations.
[...] Google went about announcing locations, and incumbent broadband ISPs, including AT&T, CenturyLink, Comcast, and Time Warner Cable, would quickly counter by promising improved pricing, faster speeds, network upgrades or some combination of the three. A "game of gigs" had erupted. In the end, Google announced plans to build in 34 cities, playing a kind of broadband whack-a-mole game. Incumbents, who initially dismissed the effort as a publicity stunt, accelerated and reprioritized their own deployments city by city as Google announced follow-on expansion.
As the game of gigs played out, city leaders were forced to offer the same administrative advantages to incumbents as they had to Google Fiber. Construction costs fell, and the speed of deployments increased. Only six years after Google's initial announcement, according to the Fiber Broadband Association, 30% of urban residents had access to gigabit Internet service.
Related: Movie Studios Fear a Piracy Surge From Google Fiber
Google Files Letter with FCC Showing Positives of Title II for Broadband Providers
Google Fiber Announces Next 4 Cities to Get 1Gbps
AT&T Charges $29 More for Gigabit Fiber that Doesn't Watch Your Web Browsing
Austinites Outraged as Google Fiber Tears Up Texas Capital
Google Fiber Buys Webpass ISP
After Years Waiting for Google Fiber, KC Residents Get Cancellation E-Mails
FCC Gives Google Fiber and New ISPs Faster Access to Utility Poles