Technology

R.U. Sirius Co-Authors New Book On Transhumanism

Slashdot - 3 hours 39 min ago
An anonymous reader writes "I've never been able to work up a fear of the robot apocalypse," admits R.U. Sirius, who more than 20 years after Mondo 2000's original guide to geek culture has again collaborated on a new encyclopedia of emerging technologies. As we progress to a world where technology actually becomes invisible, he argues that "everything about how we will define the future is still in play," suggesting that the transhumanist movement is "a good way to take isolated radical tech developments and bundle them together". While his co-author argues transhumanists "like to solve everything," Sirius points out a much bigger concern is a future of technologies dominated by the government or big capital.

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Categories: Open Source, Technology

Amazon Echo update adds Pandora, iTunes, and Spotify voice control (James Kendrick/ZDNet)

TechMeme - 4 hours 36 min ago

James Kendrick / ZDNet:
Amazon Echo update adds Pandora, iTunes, and Spotify voice control  —  Summary:Alexa, Amazon's two-pound assistant in the room, now does more with music services, improves speed and accuracy.  —  The Amazon Echo that I found to be a perfect 10 just got even better, as an update adds useful new features and improvements.

Categories: Technology

Windows 10 for Enterprise is not free in the first year and other changes announced (Shreyas Gandhe/Neowin)

TechMeme - 5 hours 51 min ago

Shreyas Gandhe / Neowin:
Windows 10 for Enterprise is not free in the first year and other changes announced  —  Businesses switching to Windows 10 for Enterprise won't be getting the operating system as a free upgrade within the first year of release and it will be updated differently as well.

Categories: Technology

Indian Woman Sues Uber In the US Over Alleged New Delhi Taxi Rape

Slashdot - 6 hours 22 min ago
"Uber has been the subject of controversy all around the globe," notes new submitter yuetteasvy (3999351), who supplies this story from Reuters about one of the reasons for that controversy: An Indian woman who says she was raped by an Uber driver while she was traveling in his cab in December is suing the San Francisco–based online firm in a U.S. federal court in California, claiming it failed to put in place basic safety procedures while running its car service in India. In her lawsuit, filed on Thursday, the New Delhi woman called the app-based service the "modern day equivalent of electronic hitchhiking." The unidentified plaintiff also calls for Uber to overhaul its safety practices, and seeks unspecified damages in the case, according to Reuters. The news agency quoted Uber as saying that it's "deepest sympathies remain with the victim of this horrific crime." Earlier, the woman was reported to have enlisted the services of Douglas Wigdor, a high-profile U.S. lawyer who represented Nafissatou Diallo, the New York City hotel maid who accused the former International Monetary Fund managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault. Prosecutors from the Manhattan district attorney's office went on to drop all charges against Strauss-Kahn, while a civil suit was settled out of court.

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Categories: Open Source, Technology

Google Earth Pro now available for free, down from $399 a year (Amit Chowdhry/Forbes)

TechMeme - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 11:30pm

Amit Chowdhry / Forbes:
Google Earth Pro now available for free, down from $399 a year  —  Google Earth Pro Is Now Available For Free  —  Today Google has announced that Google Earth Pro is now available for free.  Google Earth Pro used to cost $399 per year.  Google Earth is a geospatial software application …

Categories: Technology

HTC Admits It Will Miss 90-Day Lollipop Upgrade Window For One M7 And M8 (Ryan Whitwam/Android Police)

TechMeme - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 10:20pm

Ryan Whitwam / Android Police:
HTC Admits It Will Miss 90-Day Lollipop Upgrade Window For One M7 And M8  —  HTC promised to get Android 5.0 Lollipop through the approval process and out to the HTC One M7 and M8 in the US no later than 90 days after release.  US product manager Mo Versi even officially started the timer when Lollipop was delivered by Google.

Categories: Technology

You can now order Postmates delivery from your web browser (Rex Santus/Mashable)

TechMeme - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 9:10pm

Rex Santus / Mashable:
You can now order Postmates delivery from your web browser  —  Unlike, say, food delivery services like Seamless or Peapod, Postmates delivers almost everything, from a slice of pizza to an iPhone case or a medical prescription.  —  A user can order an item if it's in stock at participating stores …

Categories: Technology

Verizon Won’t Stop Tracking Users, But At Least You Can Opt Out Now

ReadWriteWeb - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 9:03pm

The saga of last year's privacy controversy over Verizon’s user-tracking behavior continues on. The latest chapter involves the wireless carrier magnanimously deciding Friday to let subscribers opt out of the program, the New York Times reported. 

Not that the idea came purely from the goodness of its heart. As the NYT noted, the decision came less than a day after the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation wrote to Verizon’s chief executive, Lowell C. McAdam, to question his company’s behavior.

Next thing you know, Verizon agreed to let people jump off the good ship “Privacy Fail.”

Shhhh! We’re Tracking You

The fiasco started last year, when a tweet by the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Jacob Hoffman-Andrews pointed out Verizon’s user-tracking tactics—primarily because few, if any, people realized what the wireless operator was doing.

Hoffman-Andrews cited an Ad Age article about Verizon's advertising business that mentioned the company’s use of PrecisionID, a tool developed by Verizon’s data marketer, Precision Market Insights. Its website describes PrecisionID as “a deterministic identifier matched to devices on Verizon’s wireless network powering data-driven marketing and addressable advertising solutions…”

The system works by tacking on snippets of code—sometimes called “perma-cookies” or “supercookies”—to mobile traffic headers moving through Verizon's cellular network. This “UIDH” identifier allows the carrier to track its subscribers' mobile browsing activity for advertising purposes. Ad Age’s Mark Bergen wrote, "Precision packages the request as a hashed, aggregated and anonymous unique identifier, and turns it into a lucrative chunk of data for advertisers.”

See also: Why Verizon Is Tracking All Your Mobile Web Traffic

In a Google AdSense world, user-tracking may not seem that outrageous. The difference: Google makes no secret of its ad-targeting behavior, and people knowingly accept those terms in order to use the search giant's free services. Verizon Wireless subscribers pay (sometimes hefty) subscription fees, but they apparently didn’t know they were being tracked.

Instead, they became unwitting participants in a program whose security remains in question. As the NYT points out, Verizon must secure those unique identifiers or supercookies, to ensure external attackers can’t get their hands on them.

Verizon "Takes Privacy Seriously" (Kinda) 

Even if people knew about the program, they would have had no way out until now. The company offered no mechanism to decline participation, like it does with other advertising initiatives. It makes sense, in some ways. If no one knows they’re being tracked, where’s the need? Another possibility: Putting something out there might trigger unwanted attention, and Verizon only puts it out there because it’s forced to now.

That is, of course, not the way the carrier positions its decision. According to its latest press statement:

Verizon takes customer privacy seriously and it is a central consideration as we develop new products and services. As the mobile advertising ecosystem evolves, and our advertising business grows, delivering solutions with best-in-class privacy protections remains our focus. 

We listen to our customers and provide them the ability to opt out of our advertising programs. We have begun working to expand the opt-out to include the identifier referred to as the UIDH, and expect that to be available soon. As a reminder, Verizon never shares customer information with third parties as part of our advertising programs.

The announcement looks like a concession, and a minor one at that. Because if it was serious about privacy, then Verizon would have made user-tracking opt-in, i.e. turned off by default and only activated with consent. Instead, the program is opt-out, indicating it may be turned on by default. That would put the onus on users to be aware and proactive enough shut it down. 

Earlier in January, the Electronic Frontier Foundation began a petition against Verizon and Turn, a partner that makes digital marketing software. The digital rights group seeks punitive federal action for the lack of consumer disclosures over the tracking activity. The petition received more than 2,000 signatures as of Friday. 

Lead photo by Kangrex

Categories: Technology

There Is No "You" In a Parallel Universe

Slashdot - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 9:02pm
StartsWithABang (3485481) writes "Ever since quantum mechanics first came along, we've recognized how tenuous our perception of reality is, and how — in many ways — what we perceive is just a very small subset of what's going on at the quantum level in our Universe. Then, along came cosmic inflation, teaching us that our observable Universe is just a tiny, tiny fraction of the matter-and-radiation filled space out there, with possibilities including Universes with different fundamental laws and constants, differing quantum outcomes existing in disconnected regions of space, and even the fantastic one of parallel Universes and alternate versions of you and me. But is that last one really admissible? The best modern evidence teaches us that even with all the Universes that inflation creates, it's still a finite number, and an insufficiently large number to contain all the possibilities that a 13.8 billion year old Universe with 10^90 particles admits."

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Categories: Open Source, Technology

Dropcam CEO leaves Nest; founding VP of technology goes to Twitter (Josh Lowensohn/The Verge)

TechMeme - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 8:20pm

Josh Lowensohn / The Verge:
Dropcam CEO leaves Nest; founding VP of technology goes to Twitter  —  Two high-level employees at Nest have departed the company this week, The Verge has learned.  Sources say that Nest's vice president of technology Yoky Matsuoka, as well as Greg Duffy who co-founded Dropcam, are no longer with the company.

Categories: Technology

Singtel to start Netflix competitor in Asia with Sony Pictures, Warner Bros (Terence Lee/Tech in Asia)

TechMeme - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 7:55pm

Terence Lee / Tech in Asia:
Singtel to start Netflix competitor in Asia with Sony Pictures, Warner Bros  —  Singapore's leading telco Singtel has announced today that it will launch an online streaming video service in Asia.  It's a joint-venture with Sony Pictures and Warner Bros, and will bring Hollywood movies …

Categories: Technology

Suits Seek To Force Lyft And Uber To Treat Drivers As Employees (Johana Bhuiyan/BuzzFeed)

TechMeme - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 7:00pm

Johana Bhuiyan / BuzzFeed:
Suits Seek To Force Lyft And Uber To Treat Drivers As Employees  —  A group of drivers have filed suits in San Francisco federal court against Lyft and Uber.  The drivers contend that they are misclassified as independent contractors and should be treated and classified as employees of the companies.

Categories: Technology

George R. R. Martin's "The Winds of Winter" Wiill Not Be Published In 2015

Slashdot - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 6:52pm
Dave Knott (2917251) writes George R.R. Martin's "The WInds Of Winter", the fifth book of his bestselling fantasy saga "A Song Of Ice And Fire" (known to television fans as "Game Of Thrones") will not be published in 2015. Jane Johnson at HarperCollins has confirmed that it is not in this year's schedule. "I have no information on likely delivery," she said. "These are increasingly complex books and require immense amounts of concentration to write. Fans really ought to appreciate that the length of these monsters is equivalent to two or three novels by other writers."Instead, readers will have to comfort themselves with a collection, illustrated by Gary Gianni, of three previously anthologised novellas set in the world of Westeros. "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms" takes place nearly a century before the bloody events of the A Song of Ice and Fire series. Out in October, it is a compilation of the first three official prequel novellas to the series, The Hedge Knight, The Sworn Sword and The Mystery Knight, never before collected.

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Categories: Open Source, Technology

Tech Time Warp of the Week: Return to 1974, When a Computer Ordered a Pizza for the First Time

Wired - Top Stories - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 6:15pm

Watch John Sherman use a voice synthesizer to place the first computer-assisted pizza delivery order in history.

The post Tech Time Warp of the Week: Return to 1974, When a Computer Ordered a Pizza for the First Time appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Sega to offer 300 staff voluntary retirement as it focuses on smartphone and PC online games (Wesley Yin-Poole/Eurogamer.net)

TechMeme - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 6:05pm

Wesley Yin-Poole / Eurogamer.net:
Sega to offer 300 staff voluntary retirement as it focuses on smartphone and PC online games  —  Sega of America office moving out of San Francisco.  —  Sega will offer a sizeable number of staff voluntary retirement.  —  In a note issued today, the Japanese game company warned around 300 employees …

Categories: Technology

Cutting Through Data Science Hype

Slashdot - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 6:05pm
An anonymous reader writes: Data science — or "big data" if you prefer — has evolved into a full-fledged buzzword, thanks to marketing departments around the world. John Foreman writes that part of the marketing blitz has been focused on how fast big data analysis can be. Most companies offering some kind of analytic service try to sell you on how it'll make it easy for you to quickly find and fix the problems with your business. But he points out that good, robust models need a stable set of inputs, and businesses often change far too quickly for any kind of stable prediction. He takes IBM's analytic services as an example, quoting Kevin Hillstrom: "If IBM Watson can find hidden correlations that help your business, then why can't IBM Watson stem a 3 year sales drop at IBM?" Foreman offers some simple advice: "Simple analyses don't require huge models that get blown away when the business changes. ... If your business is currently too chaotic to support a complex model, don't build one."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Scientists Float Soap Bubbles As a More Effective Drug Delivery Method

Slashdot - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 5:23pm
Zothecula writes: As if soap bubbles don't spread enough happiness on their own, scientists have discovered a way of coating them in biomolecules with a view to treating viruses, cancer and other diseases. The technology has been developed at the University of Maryland, where researchers devised a method of tricking the body into mistaking the bubbles for harmful cells, triggering an immune response and opening up new possibilities in the delivery of drugs and vaccines.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Be warned: Google enlists Chrome in push for encrypted Web (Stephen Shankland/CNET)

TechMeme - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 5:20pm

Stephen Shankland / CNET:
Be warned: Google enlists Chrome in push for encrypted Web  —  Google has taken its first step to flag ordinary sites like Wikipedia and CNN with a security warning because they allow all data transmissions to be viewed by the prying eyes of hackers or governments.

Categories: Technology

The Evolution of the Super Bowl’s Zany Logos

Wired - Top Stories - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 5:15pm

The Super Bowl’s branding lacked consistency, which was likely the result of the NFL commissioning different firms to design it every year.

The post The Evolution of the Super Bowl’s Zany Logos appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Verizon Will Let Customers Sidestep Its Privacy-Killing ‘Perma-Cookie’

Wired - Top Stories - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 5:14pm

Good news: Verizon Wireless will soon let its users stop the invasive tracking of its ‘perma-cookie.’

The post Verizon Will Let Customers Sidestep Its Privacy-Killing ‘Perma-Cookie’ appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology