Technology

Australian entrepreneur Craig Wright publicly identifies himself as Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto (BBC)

TechMeme - 1 hour 6 min ago

BBC:
Australian entrepreneur Craig Wright publicly identifies himself as Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto  —  Creator of Bitcoin digital cash reveals identity  —  Australian entrepreneur Craig Wright has publicly identified himself as Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto.

Categories: Technology

French P2P car rental startup Drivy raises €31M round from Cathay Innovation, Nokia Growth Partners, Index Ventures, others (Jeremy Kahn/Bloomberg)

TechMeme - 1 hour 31 min ago

Jeremy Kahn / Bloomberg:
French P2P car rental startup Drivy raises €31M round from Cathay Innovation, Nokia Growth Partners, Index Ventures, others  —  ‘Airbnb for Cars’ Startup Drivy Gets $35 Million to Expand  —  Paris-based startup will enter new markets, including London  —  Nokia venture arm, Cathay private equity, lead investment

Categories: Technology

Global Catastrophe, Even Human Extinction, Isn't All That Unlikely

Slashdot - 2 hours 36 min ago
HughPickens.com writes: Robinson Meyer writes in The Atlantic that in its annual report on "global catastrophic risk," the Global Challenges Foundation estimates the risk of human extinction due to climate change -- or an accidental nuclear war at 0.1 percent every year. That may sound low, but when extrapolated to century-scale it comes to a 9.5 percent chance of human extinction within the next hundred years. The report holds catastrophic climate change and nuclear war far above other potential causes, and for good reason citing multiple occasions when the world stood on the brink of atomic annihilation. While most of these occurred during the Cold War, another took place during the 1990s, the most peaceful decade in recent memory. The closest may have been on September 26, 1983, when a bug in the U.S.S.R. early-warning system reported that five NATO nuclear missiles had been launched and were bound for Russian targets. The officer watching the system, Stanislav Petrov, had also designed the system, and he decided that any real NATO first-strike would involve hundreds of I.C.B.M.s. Therefore, he resolved the computers must be malfunctioning. He did not fire a response. Climate change also poses its own risks. [PDF] According to Meyer, serious veterans of climate science now suggest that global warming will spawn continent-sized superstorms by the end of the century. Sebastian Farquhar says that even more conservative estimates can be alarming: UN-approved climate models estimate that the risk of six to ten degrees Celsius of warming exceeds 3 percent, even if the world tamps down carbon emissions at a fast pace... Any year, there's always some chance of a super-volcano erupting or an asteroid careening into the planet. Both would of course devastate the areas around ground zero -- but they would also kick up dust into the atmosphere, blocking sunlight and sending global temperatures plunging. Natural pandemics may pose the most serious risks of all. In fact, in the past two millennia, the only two events that experts can certify as global catastrophes of this scale were plagues. The Black Death of the 1340s felled more than 10 percent of the world population. Another epidemic of the Yersinia pestis bacterium -- the "Great Plague of Justinian" in 541 and 542 -- killed between 25 and 33 million people, or between 13 and 17 percent of the global population at that time. The report briefly explores other possible risks: a genetically engineered pandemic, geo-engineering gone awry, an all-seeing artificial intelligence. "We do not expect these risks to materialize tomorrow, or even this year, but we should not ignore them," says Farquhar. "Although many risks are addressed by specific groups, we need to build a community around global catastrophic risk. Cooperation is the only way for global leaders to manage the risks that threaten humanity."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell plans to revive "fundamental game design" of arcades in mobile games (Will Freeman/Guardian)

TechMeme - 5 hours 26 min ago

Will Freeman / Guardian:
Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell plans to revive “fundamental game design” of arcades in mobile games  —  Atari co-founder: mobile games make me want to throw my phone  —  Video games pioneer Nolan Bushnell is planning to revive the ‘hardcore fundamental game design’ of arcades to make mobile titles worth playing

Categories: Technology

The Pirate Bay Gets a 'Massive' $9 in Donations Per Day

Slashdot - Sun, 05/01/2016 - 11:10pm
An anonymous reader writes: When The Pirate Bay and other torrent sites started accepting Bitcoin donations a few years ago, copyright holders voiced concerns about this new 'unseizable' revenue stream. Thus far, this fear seems unwarranted with TPB raking in an average of $9 per day in Bitcoin donations over the past year. While hardly a windfall, it's a fortune compared to the donations received by the leading torrent site KickassTorrents.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Sources: Hulu hopes to launch an online TV service that streams popular broadcast and cable TV channels in Q1 2017 (Wall Street Journal)

TechMeme - Sun, 05/01/2016 - 10:05pm

Wall Street Journal:
Sources: Hulu hopes to launch an online TV service that streams popular broadcast and cable TV channels in Q1 2017  —  Hulu Is Developing a Cable-Style Online TV Service  —  New subscription service would stream feeds of popular broadcast and cable TV channels

Categories: Technology

Robots Battle In 25th Annual FIRST Competition

Slashdot - Sun, 05/01/2016 - 9:10pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Vice: Saturday marked the conclusion of the 2016 FIRST Robotics Competition, which saw over 20,000 high school students from around the world descend on St. Louis, Missouri... 900 teams pitted their robots against one another in various games... The ultimate robotics test occurred in the championship round, known as the FIRST Stronghold, which involves two alliances composed of three robots each. At each end of a pitch are two towers, representing each alliance's stronghold. The alliances must breach their opponent's stronghold by throwing boulders to goals on the tower to weaken it. There's some embedded videos from the event in Vice's article, which points out that it's the competition's 25th anniversary. (Here's Slashdot's post about the event from 2004). This year 40,000 people attended, including will.i.am and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

The Government Wants Your Fingerprint To Unlock Phones

Slashdot - Sun, 05/01/2016 - 7:10pm
schwit1 quotes this report from the Daily Gazette: "As the world watched the FBI spar with Apple this winter in an attempt to hack into a San Bernardino shooter's iPhone, federal officials were quietly waging a different encryption battle in a Los Angeles courtroom. There, authorities obtained a search warrant compelling the girlfriend of an alleged Armenian gang member to press her finger against an iPhone that had been seized from a Glendale home. The phone contained Apple's fingerprint identification system for unlocking, and prosecutors wanted access to the data inside it. It marked a rare time that prosecutors have demanded a person provide a fingerprint to open a computer, but experts expect such cases to become more common as cracking digital security becomes a larger part of law enforcement work. The Glendale case and others like it are forcing courts to address a basic question: How far can the government go to obtain biometric markers such as fingerprints and hair?"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Profile of David Vincenzetti, founder of the Hacking Team whose spyware was used by over 40 governments worldwide (David Kushner/Foreign Policy)

TechMeme - Sun, 05/01/2016 - 7:00pm

David Kushner / Foreign Policy:
Profile of David Vincenzetti, founder of the Hacking Team whose spyware was used by over 40 governments worldwide  —  Fear This Man … As the sun rose over the banks of the Seine and the medieval, half-timbered houses of Rouen, France, on July 13, 2012, Hisham Almiraat opened his inbox to find …

Categories: Technology

Windows Desktop Market Share Drops Below 90%

Slashdot - Sun, 05/01/2016 - 6:10pm
An anonymous reader quotes VentureBeat's new article about desktop operating systems: Windows 7 is still the king, but it no longer holds the majority. Nine months after Windows 10's release, Windows 7 has finally fallen below 50 percent market share and Windows XP has dropped into single digits. While this is good news for Microsoft, April was actually a poor month for Windows overall, which for the first time owned less than 90 percent of the market, according to the latest figures from Net Applications.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Calm, cruel and connected: April’s best and worst of IoT

ReadWriteWeb - Sun, 05/01/2016 - 6:00pm

It’s a tech party and IoT is everywhere right now – loud, noisy and on the dance floor with a tie around its head.

With so much energy in being devoted to tell us how, when, where, what we can connect to each other, the “why” may be getting a little blurry. So we want to take a step back every now and take a critical look at the connected devices that actually go out and buy, right now.

(Ed note: We also do a round-up of crowdfunding ideas you can’t quite get yet…or possibly should never be able to get.)

Here’s what caught our eye, for all the right – or wrong – reasons:

The Best of…..

Bios incube

Whatever your views on the existence of the afterlife, reality is that cemetery space is becoming a crowded, expensive, commodity. The alternative cremation results in the question of how to deal with the ashes, with the options not  all that appealing, especially if you’ve already been to a scattering of ashes where the wind blew them back in the faces of the bereaved.

Now there’s another option thanks to Bios Incube, a biodegradable urn containing a tree seed in which you can place the ashes and monitor remotely. According to the manufacturers, “the urn provides proper germination and later growth of the tree, based on a person or pet’s ashes. In this way, death becomes a transformation and return to life by means of nature”. The Bios Incube is a step up the from the creators earlier device of simply a seed and a biodegradable urn, and it is designed to  facilitate growth, and enables you to track and monitor your Bios Urn. A corresponding mobile app tells you how your tree is growing, and when necessary, provide advice for maintenance…because surely there’d be nothing worse than planting a loved one’s ashes with a growing tree only to have it die on you, too?

 

Cloud: Smart

The Cloud is “an interactive speaker/lamp designed to mimic a thunderstorm in both sound and light. Functions include: streaming music via Bluetooth, music visualization, motion sensing & creating ambient light displays.” Think of it as a self-indulgent piece of interactive art. That makes the $3,360 price tag more palatable.

 

Nora

When you’re from a family of chronic snorers and you’ve all spent time in sleep clinics to no avail, a product that not only aims to prevent snoring  but is also backed by sleep scientists is very appealing. Nora is a wireless device that detects the early sounds of snoring then gently moves your head by activating a padded insert in your pillow case. The insert is inflated and the movement treats the cause of snoring, the relaxed throat muscles, allowing the airway to clear and the breathing to continue. The $259 price is far cheaper than renting an apartment with a spare bedroom.

…and the worst

Peggy

Peggy is a smart clothes peg bought to you by detergent-maker Omo. It measures temperature and humidity with a corresponding app that helps you decide when you dry your clothes outside. Note to Peggy users: Go outside. Just for a while. You probably won’t die.

Juicero

Cold-pressed juice has become smart thanks to Juicero. Juicing is no longer about chopping up some fresh fruit and extracting the juice. Instead you have to buy not only the juicer but also a subscription to space age-like single serve packages of diced fruit and vegetables which when added to the machine will give you one glass of juice. Where does the IoT come in? According to the website:

“Connectivity is a key component of the Juicero system. Being connected to the internet ensures that you have the latest updates and that your Press is operating optimally. Once everything is synced, you’ll be able to rely on the app to see which Packs you’ve consumed and which ones still remain. To ensure you’re drinking the highest quality juice, the app will also notify you when Packs are about to expire.” In case that’s not enough to tempt you, “you’ll always know which nutrients you’re consuming and which farm grew each ingredient.”

 

At $700 for the juicer and  the requisite juice packs at $5 each, the local artisan bio-cafe is looking a lot more accessible. When did cutting an orange in half become too hard?

The Control Freak

The mere name of this product makes me think of A-type personalities who use their kitchen more for storing take-out sushi chopsticks than actual food prep. Yes, The Control Freak is actually the name of this stove top, a collaboration between Breville and Polyscience, who assert:

“It’s the first of its kind to accurately measure, set and hold 397 cooking temperatures from 86°-482°F. The unique real-time sensing system uses a through-glass sensor to directly measure surface temperature. Probe Control™ remote thermometer to precisely control the temperature of both water and fat-based liquids.”

Once you’ve seen the magic you can do with an old battered wok over a flame, the price of $1,799.95 is laughable. Perhaps learning to cook with the stuff in your kitchen already is a better start.

Has a product caught your eye or horrified your soul? Email us your own best and worst and my favorites will get a mention.

The post Calm, cruel and connected: April’s best and worst of IoT appeared first on ReadWrite.

Categories: Technology

Feinstein-Burr anti-encryption bill is so broad that it could ban modern web browsers (Julian Sanchez/Just Security)

TechMeme - Sun, 05/01/2016 - 5:25pm

Julian Sanchez / Just Security:
Feinstein-Burr anti-encryption bill is so broad that it could ban modern web browsers  —  Feinstein-Burr: The Bill That Bans Your Browser  —  Last week, I criticized the confused rhetorical framework that the Feinstein-Burr encryption backdoor proposal tries to impose on the ongoing Crypto Wars 2.0 debate.

Categories: Technology

What Happened to Google Maps?

Slashdot - Sun, 05/01/2016 - 5:10pm
Google Maps has reduced the number of cities it shows by up to 83% over the past few years, according to Justin O'Beirne. Maps, in addition, has increased the number of roads it showcases. O'Beirne, who writes about digital maps, in a blog post outlines the changes Google has made to its mapping and navigation service over the years. The side-by-side screenshots comparison on his blog post shows that Google has largely abandoned labelling towns and cities in favor of showing as many roads as it can. He has also looked into several elements of Maps from the design standpoint, and questioned Google's decision. He writes: If these roads were so important that they deserved to be upgraded in appearance, why weren't they also given shield icons? After all, an unlabeled road is only half as useful as a labeled one. [...] [Comparing Google Maps to a paper map] Even though it's from the early 1960s, the old print map has so much more information than the Google Map. So many more cities. So many more road labels. And the text size is comparable between the two. O'Beirne believes that Google has made these changes to better serve mobile users. "Unfortunately, these 'optimizations' only served to exacerbate the longstanding imbalances already in the maps," he writes. "As is often the case with cartography: less isn't more. Less is just less."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

CV of Failures: Princeton Professor Publishes Resume of His Career Lows

Slashdot - Sun, 05/01/2016 - 4:10pm
An anonymous reader shares a Guardian report: A professor at Princeton University has published a CV listing his career failures (PDF), in an attempt to "balance the record" and encourage others to keep trying in the face of disappointment. Johannes Haushofer, who is an assistant professor of psychology and public affairs at the university in New Jersey, posted his unusual CV on Twitter last week. The document contains sections titled Degree programs I did not get into , Research funding I did not get and Paper rejections from academic journals. Haushofer writes: Most of what I try fails, but these failures are often invisible, while the successes are visible. I have noticed that this sometimes gives others the impression that most things work out for me. As a result, they are more likely to attribute their own failures to themselves, rather than the fact that the world is stochastic, applications are crapshoots, and selection committees and referees have bad days. This CV of Failures is an attempt to balance the record and provide some perspective. He added another section called "Meta-Failures" to his resume, writing, "This darn CV of Failures has received way more attention than my entire body of academic work."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Study finds Silicon Valley engineering interns earn $81,600 per year compared with national wage index of $46,481.52 (Polly Mosendz/Bloomberg)

TechMeme - Sun, 05/01/2016 - 3:50pm

Polly Mosendz / Bloomberg:
Study finds Silicon Valley engineering interns earn $81,600 per year compared with national wage index of $46,481.52  —  Do You Earn Less Than a Silicon Valley Intern?  —  The vast majority of interns in a recent survey said they did not attempt to negotiate their salary.

Categories: Technology

RIP Kuro5hin

Slashdot - Sun, 05/01/2016 - 3:50pm
themusicgod1 writes: Can we please get a moment of silence? Long-time sister site to Slashdot, Kuro5hin has finally gone offline.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Government Could Ban BBC From Showing Top Shows at Peak Times

Slashdot - Sun, 05/01/2016 - 3:30pm
An anonymous reader writes: The BBC is on a collision course with the government over reported efforts to bar it from showing popular shows at peak viewing times. The culture secretary, John Whittingdale, is widely expected to ban the broadcaster from going head-to-head with commercial rivals as part of the BBC charter review. He is due to publish a white paper within weeks that will set out a tougher regime as part of a new royal charter to safeguard the service for another 11 years. ITV has complained about licence fee money being used to wage a ratings battle with it and other channels funded by advertising. A source at the BBC said the public would be deeply concerned if it were forced to move programmes such as Strictly Come Dancing, Doctor Who and Sherlock from prime time weekend slots.In some unrelated news, Clarkson, Hammond, and May are still figuring out the name for their new show.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Self-driving? Sorry, most British drivers insist on taking the wheel

ReadWriteWeb - Sun, 05/01/2016 - 3:00pm

Most British motorists still hold some animosity towards the onset of autonomous cars and want to maintain control of the vehicle.

In a survey conducted by IAM RoadSmart, 65 percent said that a human should always be in charge of the vehicle and 34 percent believe autonomous cars are a bad idea.

See Also: Will lasers allow driverless cars to run in the dark?

Interestingly, 55 percent said that autonomous cars will not be the norm on UK roads in the next few years, despite overwhelming support for autonomous functionality in cars by most major manufacturers.

“Technological advances that make driving and riding safer for all road users have to be embraced wholeheartedly — but British motorists and our members do want the right to drive,” said IAM RoadSmart CEO Sarah Sillars to The Express. “Intelligent cars will deliver a step change in road safety by targeting the human errors we make from time-to-time. We believe a well-trained driver and an ever-vigilant car is a win-win scenario for the future.”

British drivers aren’t the only ones

It appears motorists still have a fear of a computer-controlled car, meaning manufacturers and tech companies designing programs for self-driving need to be vocal on the security and safety benefits. Consulting firm McKinsey & Company suggests the adoption of self-driving could reduce accidents by 90 percent.

When that stat was brought up in the survey, the majority of respondents said they want to “wait and see” rather than restrict human control of vehicles. 15 percent disagreed with the proposition of removing human control entirely after reading the stat — 38 percent also said that they would not use an autonomous car.

Automated systems that stop tailgating were heavily favored by respondents, showing that British motorists do want limited automation of cars to increase safety on the road.

Autonomous cars are still an unknown to millions of drivers that question the effectiveness of a computer system on the road. In the next few years, as we start to see automatic parking and lane switching features added into cars, we might start to see a change in perception towards autonomous.

The post Self-driving? Sorry, most British drivers insist on taking the wheel appeared first on ReadWrite.

Categories: Technology

Apple's Smartwatch Draws Competition And A Very Bad Review

Slashdot - Sun, 05/01/2016 - 2:30pm
Apple's share of the smartwatch market actually started declining in 2016, dropping down to just 52.4% (down from 63%), according to Business Insider. And following up on Apple's first drop in earnings in over 10 years, Slashdot reader Zanadou shares a Gizmodo's latest story about the Apple Watch. "I stopped wearing it two months ago, and I'm not sure if I'll ever wear it again. That's because it doesn't really do anything that anyone needs, and even when it does, it doesn't always work like it's supposed to. Here are some things I learned over the past year of strapping the screen vibrator to my wrist." The article describes wanting to try a new form factor, but ending up confused by the watch's two-button interface (where the buttons perform multiple functions). Gizmodo's writer complains that "there's literally no comfortable way to actually use it," and while he did appreciate things like the time-of-sunrise feature and the ability to read text messages on your wrist, most Apple Watch apps "just end up being a shell of the iPhone app". And worst of all, it was difficult to use the watch to actually tell time, since "the screen doesn't always turn on when you raise your wrist like it's supposed to."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology