Technology

What’s Up With That: How the Weather Forecaster Knows What It ‘Feels Like’ in Your City

Wired - Top Stories - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 6:49pm
How does the meteorologist know what the temperature feels like to me and you?






Categories: Open Source, Technology

Intellectual Ventures lays off 140 employees, about 20% of its workforce (Ashlee Vance/Businessweek)

TechMeme - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 6:45pm

Ashlee Vance / Businessweek:
Intellectual Ventures lays off 140 employees, about 20% of its workforce  —  Mass Layoffs Hit Intellectual Ventures' Patent Factory  —  Intellectual Ventures, the company Silicon Valley loves to despise, is laying off about 20 percent of its employees, Bloomberg Businessweek has learned.

Categories: Technology

How to Save the Net: Don't Give In to Big ISPs (Reed Hastings/Wired)

TechMeme - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 6:35pm

Reed Hastings / Wired:
How to Save the Net: Don't Give In to Big ISPs  —  The next Netflix won't stand a chance if the largest Internet service providers in the US are allowed to merge.  —  The Internet has  —  already changed how we live and work, and we're only just getting started.

Categories: Technology

Twitter now officially says your timeline is more than just tweets from people you follow (Dan Frommer/Quartz)

TechMeme - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 6:30pm

Dan Frommer / Quartz:
Twitter now officially says your timeline is more than just tweets from people you follow  —  Many Twitter users have noticed that Twitter is now inserting tweets into their timelines that seemingly don't belong.  This is not an accident.  Twitter has updated its help document, “What's a Twitter timeline?”

Categories: Technology

YouTube Music Subscription Details Leak

Slashdot - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 6:16pm
Several readers sent word that Android Police has leaked details about YouTube's upcoming subscription service, Music Key. The benefits for users will include ad-free music, offline playback, and audio-only streams. It's expected to cost $10 per month. "Of course, one of Music Key's major value propositions is that users will have access not just to official discographies, but to concert footage, covers, and remixes. Play Music already houses some remixes and covers, but YouTube as a platform is significantly more open and workable for derivative content — the platform is much easier to add content to, and user discoverability is substantially different from Play Music." Others note Google still has to negotiate terms with many independent musicians, who could subsequently see their work blocked if they aren't willing to play by Google's rules.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Scientists Find Traces of Sea Plankton On ISS Surface

Slashdot - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 5:56pm
schwit1 sends this report from the ITAR-TASS News Agency: An experiment of taking samples from illuminators and the ISS surface has brought unique results, as scientists had found traces of sea plankton there, the chief of an orbital mission on Russia's ISS segment told reporters. Results of the scope of scientific experiments which had been conducted for a quite long time were summed up in the previous year, confirming that some organisms can live on the surface of the International Space Station for years amid factors of a space flight, such as zero gravity, temperature conditions and hard cosmic radiation. Several surveys proved that these organisms can even develop. He noted that it was not quite clear how these microscopic particles could have appeared on the surface of the space station.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Netflix is now paying Time Warner Cable for direct access and faster streams (Stacey Higginbotham/Gigaom)

TechMeme - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 5:40pm

Stacey Higginbotham / Gigaom:
Netflix is now paying Time Warner Cable for direct access and faster streams  —  Netflix, the online streaming giant, has signed a paid peering deal with Time Warner Cable, meaning that it now has deals with the four biggest U.S. ISPs.  —  Time Warner Cable signed a direct interconnection deal with Netflix …

Categories: Technology

Modular Hive Homes Win Mars Base Design Competition

Slashdot - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 5:34pm
In June, we discussed news that JPL and MakerBot were teaming up to host a competition for designing a futuristic Mars base. The competition is now over, and the top three designs have been chosen. First place went to Noah Hornberger, who designed a base with hexagonal rooms and shielding made of depleted uranium. Second place went to a martian pyramid with an aquaponics system on top, mirror-based solar collectors, central water storage, and compartmentalized living spaces. The third place award went to Chris Starr for his Mars Acropolis, which was styled upon the ancient Greek Acropolis. It has a water tower at the top of the structure, a series of greenhouses at the bottom, and living quarters in between. The full list of 227 entries is browse-able on Thingiverse.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Huge Tournament Celebrates End of Oakland’s Bizarre 80-Year Pinball Ban

Wired - Top Stories - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 5:32pm
Residents of this Bay Area city probably didn't imagine they were breaking the law every time they sidled up to a Bally machine and played the silver ball.






Categories: Open Source, Technology

Ballmer Leaves Microsoft Board

Slashdot - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 4:51pm
jones_supa writes: After leaving his position as CEO of Microsoft a year ago, Steve Ballmer has still held a position as a member of the board of directors for the company. Now, he is leaving the board, explaining why in a letter to fresh Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. "I have become very busy," Ballmer explains. "I see a combination of Clippers, civic contribution, teaching and study taking up a lot of time." Despite his departure, the former-CEO is still invested in the company's success, and he spent most of the letter encouraging Nadella and giving advice. Nadella shot back a supportive, equally optimistic response, promising that Microsoft will thrive in "the mobile-first, cloud-first world."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Regime Change: Steve Ballmer Has Finally Resigned From Microsoft’s Board

Wired - Top Stories - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 4:30pm
When Steve Ballmer resigned as CEO of Microsoft last February, he didn’t leave the company entirely. The 58-year-old executive retained his seat on the Microsoft board. But now, after 34 years with the company, Ballmer is finally moving on. “Microsoft has been my life’s work and I am proud of that and excited by what […]






Categories: Open Source, Technology

At Home with Tim O'Reilly (Videos 1 and 2 of 6)

Slashdot - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 4:10pm
Wikipedia says Tim O'Reilly "is the founder of O'Reilly Media (formerly O'Reilly & Associates) and a supporter of the free software and open source movements." And so he is. O'Reilly Media is also the company from which Make magazine and the assorted Maker Faires sprang, before spinning off into an ongoing presence of their own. (This year's Solid conference, as well as the confluence of hardware and software at OSCON demonstrate O'Reilly's ongoing interest in the world of makers, though.) O'Reilly has been a powerful force in technical book publishing, popularized the term Web 2.0, and has been at least a godfather to the open source movement. He's also an interesting person in general, even more so when he's hanging out at home than when he's on stage at a conference or doing a formal interview. That's why we were glad Timothy Lord was able to get hold of Tim O'Reilly via Hangout while he was in a relaxed mood in a no-pressure environment, happy to give detailed responses based on your questions, from small (everyday technology) to big (the Internet as "global brain"). We've run a few two-part videos, but this is the first time we've split one video into six parts -- with two running today, two tomorrow, and two Thursday. But then, how many people do we interview who have had as much of an effect on the nature of information transmission -- as opposed to just publishing -- as Tim O'Reilly? We don't know for sure, but there's a good chance that O'Reilly books are owned by more Slashdot readers than books from any other publisher. That alone makes Tim O'Reilly worth listening to for nearly an hour, total. (Alternate Video Links: Video 1 ~ Video 2; transcript below covers both videos.)

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Now You, Too, Can Obsess Over Your Dropbox File Permissions

ReadWriteWeb - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 3:35pm
Dropbox CEO Drew Houston

Last month, Dropbox gave business users in its early access program the ability to rule their corporate accounts with an iron fist. Now the cloud storage company has opened the gate, allowing all business customers to obsess over their folder and file permissions too. 

See also: Dropbox For Business Gives Control Freaks What They Want

The July announcement granted administrators highly requested features covering view-only permissions for shared folders, and passwords and expirations for shared links.

This move is undoubtedly Dropbox’s way of answering critics who were unconvinced about the tightness of its security. With these changes, managers and authorized workers can fine-tune sharing controls, so freelancers, contract workers and other contacts don’t have unbridled access to company documents. 

Lead photo by Adriana Lee for ReadWrite, smartphone image courtesy of Dropbox

Categories: Technology

Just How Creepy Can Targeted Ads Get? New Tool Promises To Tell You

ReadWriteWeb - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 3:34pm

Ever find yourself scrolling through a website and seeing an advertisement that’s a little too well-targeted? You know, as if the advertiser knew you recently twisted your ankle and need to buy some sturdier shoes? 

Columbia University researchers are working on XRay, a tool to help innocent Internet users make sense of those ads that stalk us, sometimes in ways that are worse than creepy.

Climbing In Your Inbox, Snatching Your Searches Up

As most people know by now, your personal data is the price you pay for "free" services such as Facebook and Google. When it comes to targeted ads, Google bots scan Gmail accounts looking for keywords to then serve up tailored marketing. Facebook does the same thing with "likes," status updates and other info. 

How that information is analyzed to create personalized Internet advertising is the mystery the Columbia University researchers want to help solve with XRay, the Web transparency tool they're currently working on.

XRay, still in development, “detects targeting through input/output correlation.” An Internet user's "inputs"—email, searches, etc.—are compared to “outputs,” or ads that user is shown. As you can probably guess, most of the ads were largely predictable. If "shoes" shows up in an email you've sent, you'll likely see an advertisement for a shoe sale at a department store.

Targeting, however, doesn't stop at shoes. In developing XRay, researchers also found invasive ads targeting sensitive topics in user emails, including depression and pregnancy. What's more, targeting based off such health-related keywords is potentially dangerous. For instance, one test showed that inputs containing the word "depression" would deliver ads for questionable quackery such as shamanic healing.

XRay also demonstrated the danger for consumers when companies misuse such keyword targeting:

Imagine an insurance company wanting to learn about pre-existing conditions of its customers before signing them up. The company could create two ad campaigns, one targeting cancer and the other youth, and assign different URLs to each campaign. It could then offer higher premium quotes to users coming in from the cancer-related ads to discourage them from signing up while offering lower premium quotes to people coming in from the youth-related ads.

XRay is still a prototype. Researchers tested it with Gmail to predict ads based off of email correspondence, and YouTube and Amazon video and purchasing suggestions based on previously viewed items. When widely available, XRay is expected to work across multiple platforms. In initial testing, XRay accurately predicted the types of ads that will be displayed in the future with 80 to 90% accuracy.

XRay's code will be open source, and eventually this tool will be available to everyone with an Internet connection. Such insight could help the average Internet user better understand how companies use their data. It might also help privacy watchdogs call out malicious advertisers who abuse keyword targeting.

The team will release its research paper this week at USENIX Security 2014, a top security conference in San Diego, Calif. XRay is supported by the National Science Foundation, DARPA, Google and Microsoft. 

Lead image by Asja Boroš

Categories: Technology

The HTC One Now Comes in a Windows Phone Version

Wired - Top Stories - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 3:28pm
HTC has just announced a Windows Phone version of its flagship smartphone, the One. It's a Verizon exclusive, and costs $100 on a two-year contract.






Categories: Open Source, Technology

German Intelligence Spying On Allies, Recorded Kerry, Clinton, and Kofi Annan

Slashdot - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 3:27pm
cold fjord writes: According to Foreign Policy, "The revelation that Germany spies on Turkey, a NATO member, should dispel any notion that spying on allies violates the unwritten rules of international espionage. ... For nearly a year, the extent of NSA surveillance on German leaders ... has drawn stern rebuke from the German political and media establishment. ... Merkel went so far as to publicly oust the CIA station chief in Berlin. 'Spying among friends is not at all acceptable,' Merkel said. ... [C]alls made by Secretary of State John Kerry and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were accidentally recorded. ... 'It's a kind of delightful revelation given the fact that the Germans have been on their high horse.' Christian Whiton, a former ... State Department senior advisor, added that the report on German spying is a perfect example of why rifts over intelligence among allies should be handled quietly and privately." The Wall Street Journal adds, "Cem Özdemir, the head of the Green party and a leading German politician of Turkish descent, told Spiegel Online it would be 'irresponsible' for German spies not to target Turkey given its location as a transit country for Islamic State militants from Europe." Further details at Spiegel Online and The Wall Street Journal."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Terminal Velocity

Wired - Top Stories - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 2:57pm
Much of high-end auto racing has always been about squeezing a bit more kinetic energy out of each drop of gasoline. But improvements in electric car technology mean racing can ditch the fossil fuels. Starting in September, the new FORMULA E series will bring teams from around the world to compete on the streets of […]






Categories: Open Source, Technology

Google's Driverless Cars Capable of Exceeding Speed Limit

Slashdot - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 2:45pm
mrspoonsi sends a report about how Google's autonomous vehicles handle speed limits. It's easy to assume that driverless cars will simply be programmed never to exceed a posted speed limit, but Google has found that such behavior can actually be less safe than speeding a bit. Thus, they've allowed their cars to exceed the speed limit by up to 10 miles per hour. In July, the U.K. government announced that driverless cars will be allowed on public roads from January next year. In addition, ministers ordered a review of the U.K.'s road regulations to provide appropriate guidelines. This will cover the need for self-drive vehicles to comply with safety and traffic laws, and involve changes to the Highway Code, which applies to England, Scotland and Wales. Commenting on Google self-drive cars' ability to exceed the speed limit, a Department for Transport spokesman said: "There are no plans to change speed limits, which will still apply to driverless cars." In a separate development on Monday, the White House said it wanted all cars and light trucks to be equipped with technology that could prevent collisions.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

How Agriculture’s Growth Promoters Might Work: A Mouse Study Sheds Some Light

Wired - Top Stories - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 2:26pm
The farm practice that underlies most agricultural use of antibiotics is known as “growth promotion”: It calls for giving very small doses of antibiotics routinely to meat animals because those doses cause them to gain fat and muscle more quickly than they would otherwise. Growth promotion dates back to the early days of the antibiotic […]






Categories: Open Source, Technology

FarmBot: an Open Source Automated Farming Machine

Slashdot - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 2:02pm
New submitter ErnieKey writes: Farming has been stuck in a bit of a rut, when compared to other industries. Businesses across the globe have been innovating for decades, while farming has been using techniques that have been handed down from centuries ago. The FarmBot Foundation is creating a machine, similar to that of a CNC mill and/or 3D printer, which is capable of being run by sophisticated software and equipped with any tools you can imagine, including seed injectors, plows, burners, robotic arms (for harvesting), cutters, shredders, tillers, discers, watering nozzles, sensors and more. The goal? To increase food production by automating as much of it as possible.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology