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How John Glenn Became a Big-Screen Hero in The Right Stuff

Wired - Top Stories - Thu, 12/08/2016 - 5:30pm
To younger viewers who had missed out on the space race, Ed Harris' performance cemented Glenn's out-of-this-world greatness. The post How John Glenn Became a Big-Screen Hero in The Right Stuff appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Open Source, Technology

Your business is already IoT-ready and here’s how

ReadWriteWeb - Thu, 12/08/2016 - 5:24pm

Chances are, your business is IoT-ready. Whether you are an information-based business, provide services, or sell products, you can improve your business by using the IoT even now.

Much of what we can do with the IoT is business analytics. This sounds fancy, but it doesn’t have to be. It can be as simple as collecting a little data about your customers, employees, or business processes and then making changes based on what it says. Interestingly though, most businesses are collecting a lot of data.

See also: IoT and business models; building new tech and brands

Forbes recently reported that “80% of enterprises and 63% of small & medium businesses already have deployed or are planning to deploy big data projects in the next twelve months.”

The difference the IoT brings is that with low cost sensors, businesses can affordably collect data of their choosing from the physical world. The analytics wave was and is largely based on analyzing data that businesses already had sitting around in the cyber world. The IoT enables them to collect data from the physical world, not just their accounting or customer database.

Let’s get right to it. In this article, we’ll look at some examples of IoT applications that businesses can start using right now to gain value from the IoT. We’ll look primarily at two approaches using IoT applications—tracking and customer interaction—but there are many more.

If it moves, track it

Any business that deals with physical products or uses physical assets to render services deals with the problem of materials or inventory loss. In years past, tracking some items, like pallets or tools, was too expensive to justify and costly enough to make a dent in profitability. New low-power, wide-area technologies, which came of age in the last year or so, are more affordable and allow longer battery life.

This is important because it reduces the cost of maintenance and upkeep, allowing for a positive ROI for the first time. This means that you can now place trackers on inventory, tools, or other assets so that when it goes missing, you can find it. And more importantly, you can find out why it goes missing and address the actual problem, not just the symptom.

Another concern from some employers is tracking employees, their productivity, and keeping them safe. And this tracking doesn’t necessarily have to be about the employees. When collecting activity data on your entire workforce you can see patterns.

These patterns could show whether your company has laid out tasks in an efficient manner. Are forklift drivers taking too long in certain areas of the warehouse? Do employees have to wait for a certain task to be done before loading things up? Track them and find out. Of course, you can also find out which employees are more efficient than the others, and have quantifiable evidence. These can be used to help provide constructive feedback, thank the high performers, and for your performance reviews.

The IoT can improve workplace safety as well. If there are dangerous areas of the worksite, set your tracker to alert if anyone enters the area to notify them and management to keep them safe. Keeping track of a fleet of vehicles can also be done much more cheaply than in the past. Alerts can be set if vehicles leave a certain area, making sure employees stay on track.

Check in with your drivers without interrupting their work or distracting them from driving safely by automatically tracking the progress along their route. Vehicle gone rogue? Shut it down over the air. Track vehicle condition and perform preventative maintenance saving your company lost time and money. Using the IoT to improve your business doesn’t have to be off the wall and it doesn’t have to wait.

Engage with your customers…as IoT companies

The Internet of Things also allows for new ways to interact and engage with customers. Some companies, like Amazon, have gone about this in a very direct way. The Amazon Dash Button is a button you place in your home and when you hit the button it orders a product—like bags, paper towels, or whatever—that Amazon then delivers to you. It’s a simple idea, that makes shopping very simple for consumers. This is an example of using the IoT to interact with customers in new ways

Brick and mortar businesses can get involved as well. Suppose you are a store selling high-end pet products. You know that your foot traffic is pretty good, but you aren’t sure how that traffic relates to your customers’ purchases.

Customers come in, walk around, ogle your products, pick them up, put them back, think to themselves. You ask them if they need help, “no, just browsing” they say. During busy times these customers come and go so you can’t see what is being browsed, and it’s hard to remember anyway. Not all of these customers are browsing.

Some are checking out prices, comparing to other stores or online. And some are just curious what premium pet products even look like. In any case, with an instrumented sales floor you can now understand customer foot traffic and see where your customers, or rather, where your potential customers are going and what they are looking at. This combined with your sales data can give insight into how your store is “converting”.

Just like websites or presidential campaigns optimize their websites for conversions (downloads, or sales, or donations), stores can now do the same with low cost sensors.

Customer interaction can happen in other simple ways. Imagine again, you own a store and you would love to get some very simple feedback from your customers. So, when your customer finishes checking out you ask them to hit the green button on the counter if their customer service was satisfactory and the red if it was unsatisfactory. They smile (or frown) and tap the green or red button and go on their way.

This feedback could provide historical customer satisfaction data and enable you to track how well you are meeting the needs of your customers. You could also use this system to understand your employees to see if certain shifts have more difficult customers or have less service oriented employees.

The buttons could be more product-centric. They could have three options:

  1. I didn’t find what I wanted
  2. I found what I wanted, but it was too expensive
  3. I found what I wanted, and bought it

This on its own or combined with foot traffic data could be used to provide a profile for your company on its price competitiveness and customer satisfaction.

Much more is possible with a little creativity and your business is more likely than not ready to use the IoT to improve. Whether you sell products or services, specialize in information technology or premium pet products, you can put the IoT to work today.

The post Your business is already IoT-ready and here’s how appeared first on ReadWrite.

Categories: Technology

Congress Passes BOTS Act To Ban Ticket-Buying Software

Slashdot - Thu, 12/08/2016 - 5:05pm
Congress passed a bill yesterday that will make it illegal for people to use software bots to buy concert tickets. Ars Technica reports: The Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act makes it illegal to bypass any computer security system designed to limit ticket sales to concerts, Broadway musicals, and other public events with a capacity of more than 200 persons. Violations will be treated as "unfair or deceptive acts" and can be prosecuted by the Federal Trade Commission or the states. The bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent last week, and the House of Representatives voted yesterday to pass it as well. It now proceeds to President Barack Obama for his signature. Computer programs that automatically buy tickets have been a frustration for the concert industry and fans for a few years now. The issue had wide exposure after a 2013 New York Times story on the issue. Earlier this year, the office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman completed an investigation into bots. The New York AG's ticket sales report (PDF) found that the tens of thousands of tickets snatched up by bots were marked up by an average of 49 percent.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Secret co-founder David Byttow launches IO, an anonymous platform for longer-form "authentic publishing" (Darrell Etherington/TechCrunch)

TechMeme - Thu, 12/08/2016 - 5:00pm

Darrell Etherington / TechCrunch:
Secret co-founder David Byttow launches IO, an anonymous platform for longer-form “authentic publishing”  —  Secret co-founder David Byttow said his shuttered startup would make a return of sorts, tweeting as much in November.  Byttow launched the revived anonymous publishing app …

Categories: Technology

John Glenn, First American To Orbit The Earth, Dies At 95

Slashdot - Thu, 12/08/2016 - 4:25pm
BenBoy writes: John Herschel Glenn Jr. (July 18, 1921 -- December 8, 2016) was an American aviator, engineer, astronaut, and United States Senator from Ohio. He was one of the "Mercury Seven" group of military test pilots selected in 1959 by NASA to become America's first astronauts and fly the Project Mercury spacecraft. He passed away today at age 95.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Facebook is testing a pop-up chat-like feature for comment threads on desktop (Josh Constine/TechCrunch)

TechMeme - Thu, 12/08/2016 - 3:50pm

Josh Constine / TechCrunch:
Facebook is testing a pop-up chat-like feature for comment threads on desktop  —  Comments on Facebook posts can get quite chatty, so Facebook is trying a new way to help you keep up.  Some users now see comment reels appearing as persistently visible chat windows that pop up on their desktop versions …

Categories: Technology

John Glenn, First US Astronaut to Orbit Earth, Has Died at 95

Wired - Top Stories - Thu, 12/08/2016 - 3:47pm
He was also the oldest human to leave the planet. Godspeed, John Glenn. The post John Glenn, First US Astronaut to Orbit Earth, Has Died at 95 appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Open Source, Technology

Audi Cars Now Talk To Stop Lights In Vegas

Slashdot - Thu, 12/08/2016 - 3:45pm
Audi says its cars can now tell drivers how many seconds remain until the traffic light turns green. It's the first commercial offering of vehicle-to-infrastructure communication in the United States, it adds. From a report, submitted by an anonymous reader: Of course, nobody would pay much extra for an electronic gadget that just lowered your stoplight waiting anxiety. But this feature is just testing the waters; bigger applications are in view. The cars -- recently manufactured Audi A4 and Q7 models signed onto Audi's prime connection service -- communicate with the Las Vegas traffic management system via 4G LTE, the standard mobile phones use. The countdown appears on the dashboard or heads-up display, then shuts off a few seconds before the light changes (presumably to keep drivers from getting mesmerized). Audi manages the transfer of data with the help of its partner, Traffic Technology Services (TTS), of Beaverton, Ore. The plan is to eventually give drivers the information they need to make fairly ambitious predictions, like choosing the right speed to go sailiing through several green lights in a row. Or the system might bypass the driver and go straight to the engine's "start-stop" system, shutting it down for a long count, then starting it up again seconds before getting a green light.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

The Origin of Just About Everything, Visualized

Wired - Top Stories - Thu, 12/08/2016 - 3:25pm
This brilliantly illustrated science book explains the origins of some of life's most complicated questions. The post The Origin of Just About Everything, Visualized appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Open Source, Technology

Every US Taxpayer Has Effectively Paid Apple At Least $6 in Recent Years

Slashdot - Thu, 12/08/2016 - 3:05pm
An anonymous reader shares an ArsTechnica report: Apple has received at least $6 per American taxpayer over the last five years in the form of interest payments on billions' worth of United States Treasury bonds, according to a report by Bloomberg. Citing Apple's regulatory filings and unnamed sources, the business publication found "the Treasury Department paid Apple at least $600 million and possibly much more over the past five years in the form of interest." By taking advantage of a provision in the American tax code, Bloomberg says that Apple has "stashed much of its foreign earnings -- tax-free -- right here in the US, in part by purchasing government bonds." As The Wall Street Journal reported in September, American companies are believed to be holding approximately $2 trillion in cash overseas that is shielded from US taxes. Under American law, companies must pay a 35-percent corporate tax rate on global profits when that money is brought home -- so there is an incentive to keep as much of that money overseas as possible.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Uber May Have Just Driven Itself Out of a Big Loophole

Wired - Top Stories - Thu, 12/08/2016 - 2:37pm
Millions of dollars hinge on the definition of a "van." The post Uber May Have Just Driven Itself Out of a Big Loophole appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Open Source, Technology

First Dinosaur Tail Found Preserved in Amber

Slashdot - Thu, 12/08/2016 - 2:37pm
The tail of a beautiful, feathered dinosaur has been found perfectly preserved in amber from Myanmar. It is a huge breakthrough that could help open a new window on the biology of a group that dominated Earth for more than 160 million years. From a report on the National Geographic: The semitranslucent mid-Cretaceous amber sample, roughly the size and shape of a dried apricot, captures one of the earliest moments of differentiation between the feathers of birds of flight and the feathers of dinosaurs. Inside the lump of resin is a 1.4-inch appendage covered in delicate feathers, described as chestnut brown with a pale or white underside. CT scans and microscopic analysis of the sample revealed eight vertebrae from the middle or end of a long, thin tail that may have been originally made up of more than 25 vertebrae. NPR has a story on how this amber was found. An excerpt from it reads: In 2015, Lida Xing was visiting a market in northern Myanmar when a salesman brought out a piece of amber about the size of a pink rubber eraser. Inside, he could see a couple of ancient ants and a fuzzy brown tuft that the salesman said was a plant. As soon as Xing saw it, he knew it wasn't a plant. It was the delicate, feathered tail of a tiny dinosaur.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Alaska Air CIO flies off to build Dubai smart cities

ReadWriteWeb - Thu, 12/08/2016 - 2:35pm

Dubai is getting some high-flying help in developing smart cities by landing technology guru Veresh Sita

As reported by IDG’s CIO magazine, Emaar Properties recently wooed Sita away from his Chief Information Officer role with Alaska Airlines.

He will now take on the role of Chief Digital Officer (CDO) with Emaar, one of the United Arab Emirates’ largest real estate developers.

Sita assist Emaar in developing digitally sophisticated residential and commercial properties using such cutting-edge technology as machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT).

“We’re focused on transforming Emaar into a world class leader of digital and customer experiences,” said Sita.

This will culminate in the building out of “digital smart cities” that Sita explains will combine virtual and physical spaces seamlessly while anticipating the needs of its citizens.

“Imagine a city that embodies the convergence between a community of people and artificial intelligence, interacting together,” he said. “My current focus is to create customer experiences that are as iconic as the physical spaces that Emaar develops.”

Dubai Creek Harbour is a shining example

An example of Emaar’s future focus is Dubai Creek Harbour. Upon its completion the project will be among the world’s most digitally advanced residential developments.

As CDO, Sita will help enhance this and similar projects with emerging technology like robotic process automation, IoT, virtual and augmented reality, AI and machine learning.

Emaar’s move to up its digital game by hiring Sita is another reason why Dubai was recently crowned the Gulf region’s top smart city.

Instrumental in the city’s smart city leadership is the Smart Dubai roadmap. As part of this plan, Dubai aims to deliver 1,000 services via 100 initiatives by 2017.

Some smart city highlights from Dubai include: a smart mobility initiative for traffic control; improved power and water consumption through a smart grid program; smart health services; and mobile-enabled e-Government services.

The post Alaska Air CIO flies off to build Dubai smart cities appeared first on ReadWrite.

Categories: Technology

Facebook will let some users outside the US make their own geo-specific frames for photos and videos (Sarah Perez/TechCrunch)

TechMeme - Thu, 12/08/2016 - 2:10pm

Sarah Perez / TechCrunch:
Facebook will let some users outside the US make their own geo-specific frames for photos and videos  —  Facebook is launching a series of new features to help people customize their photos and videos in the social network's continuing battle with Snapchat, an app that put the camera …

Categories: Technology

Data protection disputes set to surge in the next five years

ReadWriteWeb - Thu, 12/08/2016 - 2:09pm

With incidents of data breaches and other data protection issues on the rise, researchers are looking into just how much we can expect data protection disputes to rise in the next five years. This is the focus of a recent research study conducted by the School of International Arbitration at Queen Mary University of London in coordination with Pinsent Masons law firm.

The study found that disputes resulting from data and security breaches is expected to rise by as much as 191% in the next five years alone. 67% of respondents indicated that data breaches caused by employees was very common. This is compared to 70% that stated third parties are at least somewhat commonly responsible.

The study, which was conducted with 340 legal experts from around the world, also found that data protection disputes are also expected to increase as much as 104%.

Data protection issues currently make up 13% of all telecoms, media and technology (TMT) disputes. This increase would have a huge impact on IT companies’ bottom lines.

The importance of substantial data protection

For any company that deals with data of a significant and/or personal nature, data security and the legal costs that come with it are a big deal. When a large corporation such as a bank or a retail giant suffers a breach of its data stores, thousands and even millions of people are affected.

Information such as a person’s name, email address, financial information, health records, and passwords can be bought and sold on the black market quickly after it has been illegally obtained. This information can lead to a cascade of problems for the individual, including identity theft and financial ruin.

This became shockingly true for the 30 million people that used the popular infidelity site, Ashley Madison. A data breach on its servers had fallout that went well beyond simple identity theft. News of the breach, and the resulting data dump that outed thousands of government employees and officials in the United States alone, resulted in suicides and countless incidents of extortion.

For Avid Dating Life and Avid Life Media, the companies behind Ashley Madison, this breach could result in hundreds of millions of dollars in damages from class-action lawsuits being filed in several countries.

The challenge of protecting IoT data

Over the past year, the security of the Internet of Things has been brought into question. The widespread outage of popular websites like Amazon and Twitter that occurred in 2016 happened because IoT devices. These devices transmit and receive sometimes sensitive information, were found susceptible to malicious software injection.

Our home’s security systems, medical devices, and even our cars are becoming full-fledged computers with Internet connections. The type of data they gather and send to the cloud ranges from innocuous status updates to live video streams.

Protecting the IoT is paramount to preserving the security of its users’ data and the financial well being of their creators.

The post Data protection disputes set to surge in the next five years appeared first on ReadWrite.

Categories: Technology

YouTube reaches settlement with National Music Publishers' Association over unpaid royalties; sources say deal is worth $40M+ (Ben Sisario/New York Times)

TechMeme - Thu, 12/08/2016 - 1:55pm

Ben Sisario / New York Times:
YouTube reaches settlement with National Music Publishers' Association over unpaid royalties; sources say deal is worth $40M+  —  YouTube, the latest target of the music industry's battle over royalties and control, has taken steps this week to mend fences and show that it is a good partner.

Categories: Technology

PowerShell Security Threats Greater Than Ever, Researchers Warn

Slashdot - Thu, 12/08/2016 - 1:50pm
Microsoft's Windows PowerShell configuration management framework continues to be abused by cyber attackers, according to researchers at Symantec, who have seen a surge in associated threats. From a report on ComputerWeekly: More than 95% of PowerShell scripts analysed by Symantec researchers have been found to be malicious, with 111 threat families using PowerShell. Malicious PowerShell scripts are on the rise, as attackers are using the framework's flexibility to download their payloads, traverse through a compromised network and carry out reconnaissance, according to Candid Wueest, threat researcher at Symantec.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology