Alterslash

the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2020-Sep-17 today archive
 

Contents

  1. Encrochat Investigation Finds Corrupt Cops Leaking Information To Criminals
  2. Facebook Will Stop Recommending Health Groups
  3. Nintendo 3DS Discontinued After Almost a Decade
  4. US Charges Chinese and Malaysian Hackers In Global Hacking Campaign
  5. DuckDuckGo Is Growing Fast
  6. Why Passenger Jets Could Soon Be Flying In Formation
  7. Is Apple One a Bargain? It's Complicated
  8. WeChat Users Won't Be Targeted By Trump's Order, US Says
  9. FBI Director: It's a Mistake To Get Election Information on Social Media
  10. Amazon Defends Working With Oil Companies To Reach Its Zero-Carbon Goal
  11. Twitter Orders Politicians, Journalists To Fortify Passwords Before Election
  12. Mozilla Shuts Down Firefox Send and Firefox Notes Services
  13. A Utah Company Claims It Invented Contact Tracing Tech
  14. Voice Assistants Are Doing a Poor Job of Conveying Information About Voting
  15. First Intel Tiger Lake Benchmarks Show Big CPU and Graphics Performance Gains
  16. Google 'Formally' Bans Stalkerware Apps From the Play Store
  17. Cloudflare and the Wayback Machine, Joining Forces For a More Reliable Web
  18. Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott Hacked After Posting Boarding Pass on Instagram
  19. YouTube's Recommendation System is Criticized as Harmful. Mozilla Wants To Research It
  20. Patient Dies After Hospital Hit By Ransomware Attack
  21. Amazon Plans To Put 1,000 Warehouses In Suburban Neighborhoods
  22. Disney+ Takes First Emmy Win With 'The Mandalorian' For Visual Effects
  23. Scientists Say a Mind-Bending Rhythm In the Brain Can Act Like Ketamine

Alterslash picks up to the best 5 comments from each of the day’s Slashdot stories, and presents them on a single page for easy reading.

Encrochat Investigation Finds Corrupt Cops Leaking Information To Criminals

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: After searching through some of the tens of millions of encrypted messages pulled from Encrochat devices, Dutch police have launched a new investigation team that will look specifically into corruption, the police force announced on Wednesday. In some cases authorities are looking to identify police who leaked information to organized criminals. The news broadens the scope of the Encrochat investigations, which have focused heavily on drug trafficking and organized crime more generally. Earlier this year, French authorities hacked into Encrochat phones en masse to retrieve message content, and then shared those communications with various other law enforcement agencies.

"Criminal investigations into possible corruption are currently underway and there are likely to be more in the near future. In addition to investigations into drug trafficking and money laundering, investigations into corruption are also given top priority," Chief of Police Henk van Essen said in a Politie press release.

Encrochat was an encrypted phone company that took base Android units, made physical alterations to them, and added its own software. Encrochat devices sent messages with end-to-end encryption, meaning only the intended recipient was supposed to be able to read them. The phones also had a remote wipe feature, letting users destroy communications if they lost physical control of the device, as well as a dual-boot system that let users open an innocuous looking operating system, or the second one containing their more sensitive information. The phones were particularly popular with criminals, including drug traffickers and hitmen. There are indications Encrochat may have had legitimate users too, however. Other Encrochat customers are allegedly those involved in corruption, including police themselves, the press release suggests.

Springfield Cops are on the take,

By Joe_Dragon • Score: 3 • Thread

But what do expect for the money we make?

Re:Clearly it wasn't end-to-end encryption

By raymorris • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Quoting TFS:

"French authorities hacked into Encrochat phones en masse to retrieve message content"

The phones are the ends.

It can't be encrypted while you're read it, or while you're typing it.
For that, you have to rely on your phone not being hacked.
Specifically, you have to rely on the app not being cracked and you have to rely on the OS to do what it is supposed to do.

Corrupt police, you say?

By hyades1 • Score: 3 • Thread

I'm shocked. Shocked, I tell you!

Re:Clearly it wasn't end-to-end encryption

By EETech1 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

They caught the techie that was making the phones, put the screws to him, and forced him to send out an update that disabled the encryption, and then sent the messages to a forwarding address.

Re:French 4th Amendment?

By JaredOfEuropa • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
That’s just it. Everyone is applauding the cops, and the clever trick they pulled to break all these criminal organisations. But personally I find the whole thing a little scary. Apparently (going by the message that Encrochat sent to their customers’ phones), French police seized their servers for a short period, and used them to distribute malware to about half the user base. This amounts to mass surveillance, without a warrant. And it has gone on for years.

That doesn’t seem legal, even if Enchrochat is deemed to be used almost exclusively by criminals. But... maybe such a hack is legal in France. Then it becomes more complicated: can the Dutch police use evidence obtained illegally by other agencies? Maybe... the tax authorities can (according to the judge), and have. But they are a bit of a special case. The police have themselves obtained illegal evidence before (“inkijkoperaties”, or sneak and peek ops), and rather than use it directly in court, used to it direct their investigation and gather lawful evidence. The judge made a firm ruling on that: not allowed. This smells very similar and rightly so... yet no one seems to challenge the legality of the whole thing.

Facebook Will Stop Recommending Health Groups

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
The Verge reports on the new rules Facebook is adding to slow the spread of misinformation and other harmful content on its Groups feature. From the report: Some of the new policies encourage more active administration of groups. If administrators step down, they can invite members to take their place; if nobody does, Facebook will apparently "suggest" admin roles to members, then archive the group if that fails. Also, if group members accrue a community standards violation, moderators will have to approve all their posts for 30 days. If the moderators repeatedly approve posts that violate Facebook's guidelines, the group could be removed.

The health guidelines take a broader approach by focusing on an entire category of content, not specific rule-breaking behavior. Facebook says that although groups can "be a positive space for giving and receiving support during difficult life circumstances ... it's crucial that people get their health information from authoritative sources." Facebook also says it's continuing to limit content from militia groups and other organizations linked to violence. Groups that discuss potential violence will be removed, and it will soon down-rank even non-violating content in the News Feed.

Who Is Paying Them

By rtb61 • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

Hmm, let me guess, ohh yeah, BUY PHARMACEUTICAL DRUGS AT INFLATED PRICES, you cheap fuckers, right up until they fucking kill you, filthy dirty nobody workers. That is all it is, no more diet recommendation, no more healthy eating, no healthy mental practices, nor more nothing that does not start with doctors and end with prescriptions until they day they bankrupt and kill you. Ohh Facebook you suck a steaming pile of shite holes.

Facebook & Harmful Content

By J1896 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
If Facebook truly wanted to stop the spread of harmful content, it would shut itself down and declare bankruptcy.

One man's misinformation

By Jarwulf • Score: 3 • Thread
Misinformation==an ever expanding category of wrongthink

Re:One man's misinformation

By MightyMartian • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

You do know that reality dictates that some things are just plan wrong. Antivaxxers and other diseminators of fake medical information should be given the heave ho

Re:it's crucial!

By AmiMoJo • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I dunno, Trump's health advice hasn't been particularly good.

Nintendo 3DS Discontinued After Almost a Decade

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Nintendo has discontinued its 3DS handheld after about 76 million sales over a nine-and-a-half year period. The BBC reports: A notice on the Japanese firm's site says "manufacturing of the Nintendo 3DS family of systems has ended." The device had the ability to trick the human eye into seeing 3D images like those in some cinema screenings -- but without special glasses. However, its launch received a lukewarm reception and it only gained popularity later. The console's demise has long been expected. Last year, the company said it no longer planned to make any new first-party games for the system. It means the original Nintendo DS retains the title of being the bestselling mobile console. And the Nintendo Switch -- a hybrid handheld-and-home machine -- is the current focus of Nintendo's efforts.

3D popularity fades with time

By carcomp • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
3D was huge in 2010. Avatar had just come out. I remember only going to movies "in 3D". I would look for theaters with specific technology. I bought the 3DS and it was awesome. Then I found myself playing more and more with 3D mode turned off. I also stopped caring if movies were 3D... Theater technology had started to age / fail making it a crapshoot at quality. Maybe one day it will be amazing again. It was fun in 2010.

It's a great handheld system

By 93 Escort Wagon • Score: 3 • Thread

But now that the Switch exists, there's not nearly as much separation between "portable" and "console".

Especially when you've got the Switch Lite...

Re:It's a great handheld system

By omnichad • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I'm still dreaming that they might release a console-only version of the Switch. I really don't like the idea of paying for a screen and battery I will never use - no matter how cheap screens are getting.

A Retrogaming Powerhouse

By Vandil X • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
Between the massive 3DS library and the NDS library, you literally have thousands of games to choose from.

Then consider there are virtual console games from the NES, Gameboy/GBC, SNES, Game Gear, and for "ambassadors" GBA, which add many retrogames from those consoles.

Then consider that you can buy a simply Flash card for the card slot and load emulators an games for a while assortment of retrosystems, including the Atari 2600, Sega Genesis, TG-16 and more.... all without modifying the 3DS firmware.

The system may be discontinued, but if you ever wanted a portable retrogaming powerhouse, it's a solid system to own.

Re:It's a great handheld system

By drinkypoo • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

In ten years they will announce the "switch lite" (or similar) which will be implemented poorly as a single chip and which won't run cycle-correct. It will come with one game you want and nine games you don't for way too much money, and the full stock will be bought up immediately by speculators.

US Charges Chinese and Malaysian Hackers In Global Hacking Campaign

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
schwit1 shares a report from NewsNation Now: The Justice Department has charged five Chinese citizens with hacks targeting more than 100 companies and institutions in the United States and elsewhere, including social media and video game companies as well as universities and telecommunications providers, officials said Wednesday. The five defendants remain fugitives, but prosecutors say two Malaysian businessmen accused of conspiring with the alleged hackers to profit off the attacks on video game companies were arrested in that country this week and face extradition proceedings. The indictments announced Wednesday are part of a broader effort by the Trump administration to call out cybercrimes by China.

DuckDuckGo Is Growing Fast

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from BleepingComputer: DuckDuckGo, the privacy-focused search engine, announced that August 2020 ended in over 2 billion total searches via its search platform. While Google remains the most popular search engine, DuckDuckGo has gained a great deal of traction in recent months as more and more users have begun to value their privacy on the internet. DuckDuckGo saw over 2 billion searches and 4 million app/extension installations, and the company also said that they have over 65 million active users. DuckDuckGo could shatter its old traffic record if the same growth trend continues. Even though DuckDuckGo is growing rapidly, it still controls less than 2 percent of all search volume in the United States. However, DuckDuckGo's growth trend has continued throughout the year, mainly due to Google and other companies' privacy scandal.

Re:How is it any different?

By jon3k • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
Just proxying my requests and hiding my IP address from Google or Bing is enough for me to use it. I've found the results to be good 98% of the time, which is enough to set it as my default. If you occasionally need to search Google you can use the ddg "bang" which will allow you to keep the same default search provider in your browser, but automatically be redirected to Google results (eg: !google ). Obviously this will expose you directly to Google, but I find I rarely need it.

Also, it doesn't exclusively use Bing results. DuckDuckGo has DuckDuckBot which is their own web crawler, along with lots of other sources.

Looking for a good search engine...

By arcade • Score: 3 • Thread

I remember when I started using Google, back in '98. It was amazingly much better than the rest. It kept being amazing until around 2009, where a change was introduced that no longer required all the words you searched for. Then synonyms were added. Then attempts to figure out what you searched for. It got rather useless.

Then someone added Verbatim search to Google. It was good again for many years, until I guess some time last year. Since then, results have gotten sucky with Verbatim search too.

I tend to go more and more to duckduckgo, bing and other search engines, as Google quite simply keeps returning irrelevant results.

Re: Too bad it shows...

By ISayWeOnlyToBePolite • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Nah, it's entirely a rationalization. Instead of searching "American inventors" try "white inventors". You'll see the same thing - a sea of black faces.

Try "white couple" vs "black couple" or "Chinese couple". See what you get.

Then come back and try to keep rationalizing it all away. Should be good for a laugh.

You seem to be assuming that there are a lot of lists that that mention white and inventor and only feature white inventors? I think that's pretty rare and that lists that mention white and inventor generally are lists made by people who wishes to bring forth contribution by non-white inventors. An old Stormfront thread seems to agree with me that lists that explicitly lists only white inventors aren't that common https://www.stormfront.org/for... and in this case I'm prone to believe them.

Re:How do we know?

By locofungus • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

How do we know DuckDuckGo keeps search data private? They say they do. Have they ever been audited by a trustworthy 3rd party?

DuckDuckGo don't have their tentacles into every other webpage on the internet.

It's getting to the point where it's impossible to avoid google trackers. I try not to use google, I have no accounts with them, I do not search with them, and javascript from google domains is blocked by default.

I recently had to confirm my electoral roll registration (This is a mandatory UK thing that happens every year where you have to confirm that the voters that are registered at a particular address is correct). I was forced to go though the "I am not a robot" google stuff to do that - which forced me to enable javascript for some google domains.

In theory this can be done on paper or by telephone, but this time I didn't get a paper form to complete at all, just an email with a link to a website (which itself redirects via a link tracking site!)

Better than Google

By otuz • Score: 3 • Thread

I switched a few years ago and sometimes fell back to Google when I couldn't find anything relevant. Now I usually find the relevant stuff on DDG, and if I try Google for the same results, I only get all kinds of scam sites. Another good thing about DDG is that it doesn't do the confirmation bubble enforcement thing Google does by spying on you.

Why Passenger Jets Could Soon Be Flying In Formation

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
New submitter ragnar_ianal writes: Looking at the V-shaped formations of migrating ducks, scientists have long surmised that there are aeronautical efficiencies at play. Airbus is examining this in a practical manner to see if fuel efficiency can be enhanced. "Building on test flights in 2016 with an Airbus A380 megajet and A350-900 wide-body jetliner, [the Airbus fello'fly] hopes to demonstrate and quantify the aerodynamic efficiencies while developing in-flight operational procedures," reports CNN. "Initial flight testing with two A350s began in March 2020. The program will be expanded next year to include the involvement of Frenchbee and SAS airlines, along with air traffic control and air navigation service providers from France, the UK, and Europe." "It's very, very different from what the military would call formation flight. It's really nothing to do with close formation," explained Dr. Sandra Bour Schaeffer, CEO of Airbus UpNext, in an interview with CNN Travel.

Okay then...

By sunking2 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Let's just toss out the long-trusted rules of keeping at least a 5 mile distance for safety reasons because of fuel. No to mention the loiter time needed as all of your formation takes off.

Re: Who gets the short straw?

By CalimarDeVir • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
Or Swallows - of course it would have to be European Swallows as African Swallows are non-migratory.

Safety in numbers as well

By MarkTina • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

A flock of A380s is going to confuse predators as well

Waiver for 91.111(c)?

By rikkitikki • Score: 3 • Thread

So, is the plan to get a waiver for FAR 91.111(c)?
(c) No person may operate an aircraft, carrying passengers for hire, in formation flight.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/cf...

Re:Fix the boarding process

By thegarbz • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

You're assuming the boarding process is a delay on the ground. It's not. Passengers typically are boarded while lots of parallel activities are still underway, luggage loading, checks, etc, and in any case your "problem" could be solved far more easily by just boarding earlier. The reality is passengers are quite often boarded and seated *before* a plane is even ready to take off. You don't benefit from optimising this process.

Also "efficient" algorithms break down from a people point of view:
- Premium passengers want to feel premium by boarding first (even though front to back is the slowest way to board a plane)
- Families don't want to be split up, the most efficient boarding processes separates people sitting next to each other.
- People fly with assistance, we're not going to get on the plane faster when some kid can't reach the overhead locker because their parent isn't with them.
- Efficient algorithms assume people get in put their bag up and sit down. The reality is people get up. They sit down, they forget they left their earbuds / book / drink in their bag, etc. The "ideal" and the current process doesn't have anywhere near as big a gap as many simulations make out.

Is Apple One a Bargain? It's Complicated

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Apple One, Apple's long-awaited services bundle, has arrived and The Verge's Chaim Gartenberg has crunched the numbers to see which subscription package, if any, is worth it. From the report: Let's start with the Apple One Individual plan. Offering a single Apple Music plan ($9.99 per month), a 50GB iCloud storage bucket ($0.99 per month), and access to Apple Arcade ($4.99 per month) and Apple TV Plus ($4.99 per month) for $14.99, it seems like it saves you money. But unless you're interested in subscribing to Apple Music and either Apple Arcade or Apple TV Plus, you're probably better off just saving the $4 and sticking with an $11 Apple Music and iCloud combo. (As a side note, Apple does grant everyone in your family plan access to Apple Arcade and Apple TV Plus, even if you subscribe to it through the "Individual plan," which may impact your calculus.)

It's a similar story with the Family plan: a regular family plan for Apple Music costs $14.99 per month, and a 200GB iCloud bucket (which can already be shared across a whole family) is $2.99. Once again, if you want either Apple Arcade or Apple TV Plus on top of that, the Apple One bundle effectively gets you both of those services for the price of one, but if all you want is Apple Music and iCloud storage, Apple One doesn't really offer any benefits.

The Apple One Premier plan is a slightly different story, though. At $29.99 per month, it's the most expensive of the plans. Comparing it to the unbundled costs, an Apple Music family plan is once again $14.99, while a 2TB iCloud plan is $9.99. If you were already paying for both of those plans -- which isn't unreasonable for a family that's heavily invested in Apple products -- then you're only looking at a $5 per month increase to gain access to Arcade along with the additions of News Plus and Fitness Plus (which, at $9.99 per month each, are among Apple's priciest subscriptions).
"But in most cases, Apple One only makes sense if you're already subscribing to Apple's most in-demand services: iCloud storage, which is essential for backing up most iPhones given Apple's increasingly absurd (and stingy) 5GB allowance for new devices, and Apple Music," writes Gartenberg in closing. "And at the end of the day, Apple One doesn't make subscribing to those two key services dramatically cheaper -- it just provides a discount for subscribing to Apple's less popular services. It's a good discount, mind you, but one that still results in most customers paying more than they are right now."

Rip-off

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread

Listening to and uploading music to YouTube Music costs nothing. Listening to the radio costs nothing.

My 50GB for life plan on Box.com costs nothing.

Watching TV costs nothing. Watching YouTube, LBRY, D.Tube, Vimeo, etc. costs nothing.

I only buy DRM-free games, therefore I only play games I get from GOG.com.

Could you make the hype quieter?

By Generic User Account • Score: 3 • Thread
News for consumers, stuff that's for sale.

No. Neither a bargain nor complicated.

By Qbertino • Score: 3 • Thread

A massive megacorp that has managed to turn tech into fashion uses its astronomical wealth to push the golden cage further into a services. That's a neat strategic move and to be expected from Apple, as they actually have Execs who know what they're doing and tend to do no half-assed shite like some other players.

But let us please not get silly and keep in mind that they are a megacorp and that all they offer belongs to them either way, as with any megacorp. The phone you get from them, the tablet and even their PC is getting more and more lock-in. Same with their services. If they decide that the content you bought access to yesterday shall not be accessed by you today, they can kick you out and there is not a single thing you can do about it.

Meanwhile every half-assed refurbished laptop with an easy install of Ubuntu 20.4, Manjaro Whatever or whatnot and countless sources on the intarweb offer pretty much the same content for way less and with the upside that Apple or anybody else can't decide wether it should disapear from your device.

So, no. Not a bargain. And not complicated at all if you get 2 or more braincells fired up to ponder the issue for 5 seconds.

My 2 eurocents.

Expensive Hardware Dongle

By Cmdln Daco • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

The hardware dongle that is necessary to take advange of most of the Apple One content is overpriced and low spec. Well, they have a 'really fast' processor, if any ARM processor can be called fast. Not that you need a fast processor to consume Apple One content.

I remember when iTunes first came out. I was amused by the irony of 'win a free iTunes song' bottlecaps on soda bottles.

I remembered back to when Steve Jobs asked John Sculley if 'he wanted to sell sugar water to kids for the rest of his life.' Now Apple is mostly a throwaway entertainment electronics company. Kind of the new Sony.

WeChat Users Won't Be Targeted By Trump's Order, US Says

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: WeChat users who download the Chinese app for personal or business communications won't be targeted by President Donald Trump's executive order that will prohibit using the app for some transactions, the U.S. said. The U.S. Commerce Department plans to clarify by Sept. 20 which transactions will be prohibited. But it doesn't intend to define "the relevant transactions in such a way that would impose criminal or civil liability on such users," according to a government filing Wednesday in federal court in San Francisco.

The U.S. WeChat Users Alliance is seeking a preliminary injunction against Trump's executive order. A hearing on the request is scheduled for Thursday. According to the WeChat users group, Trump's Aug. 6 order would sunder the primary and often exclusive channel many U.S. residents use to communicate with family and friends in both China and the U.S. WeChat is also used to run businesses and non-profit organizations, practice religion and as a source news. WeChat is so integral to Chinese and Chinese Americans' lives that a ban would be like "losing a limb" for some users, the group claims.
"Having first failed to articulate any actual national security concern, the administration's latest 'assurances' that users can keep using WeChat, and exchange their personal and business information, only further illustrates the hollowness and pre-textual nature of defendants' 'national security' rationales," the group said in a court filing.

FBI Director: It's a Mistake To Get Election Information on Social Media

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
If a Facebook page or an Instagram post is offering the location of your polling place, you should double check that with your local elections office, the FBI director said Thursday at a congressional hearing. Better yet, don't get your election information from social media at all. From a report: The House Committee on Homeland Security hosted on Thursday its annual worldwide threats hearing, where intelligence agencies in past years have warned about international cyberattacks and online disinformation. [...] The FBI director said that social networks like Facebook and Twitter have worked with the bureau to take down disinformation campaigns, but he also warned Americans against getting election information on those platforms. "It's particularly of concern to us in the election context when Americans make the mistake of getting information about elections themselves on social media," Wray said. "We're trying to make sure Americans know [that] to get information about where, when and how you vote, you need to go to your local election official's website. Don't take it from social media."

Re:Or from any unofficial source

By quonset • Score: 4 • Thread

Today I received a notice from the con artist urging me to request my mail-in ballot. The very mail-in ballot he claims leads to vote fraud.

I guess if anyone should know about fraud, it would be him.

Just go vote normally

By cirby • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Wear a mask, stand six feet apart, and vote in person.

If you have health problems that prevent you from doing that, THEN do absentee.

You heard it here first, folks:

By mutantSushi • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Only get election information from SLASHDOT.

Working for eyeball-time

By NotEmmanuelGoldstein • Score: 3 • Thread

"Don't take it from social media."

When someone on Facebook wails "Oh, no! Christmas is cancelled." No-one replies "[Citations needed.]", instead everyone responds with "I'm a victim" or SJW outrage.

Facebook should be reminding everyone "Don't believe everything you read" but they pretend they're a news site, with everyone working for free. Correction: Everyone is working for eyeball-time, so the outrage-inducing stories are paid and the truthful are penniless.

Re:That has to be said?

By Joce640k • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

I'm no fool, I get all my election advice on Slashdot.

Amazon Defends Working With Oil Companies To Reach Its Zero-Carbon Goal

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Partnering with oil and gas producers is necessary for Amazon and other companies to achieve their climate goals, the tech giant's chief of sustainability, Kara Hurst, said during an Axios virtual event on Thursday. From a report: Amazon aims to hit carbon neutrality in 2040, 10 years earlier than the Paris climate accord. The company plans to reach its goal in part by helping companies develop climate-friendly technologies through a $2 billion venture fund. The first recipients were announced on Thursday. "Amazon, like every other company you just mentioned -- Google, Microsoft, many tech companies -- works across a wide variety of industries. And I believe it's absolutely necessary to work with those types of industries to create transformation," referring to oil companies.

So what's the problem exactly?

By nealric • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Amazon is paying companies to help develop "climate friendly" technologies. What's to "defend"? Why does it matter if those companies also extract fossil fuels?

Even if you hate the oil companies, providing them with a pathway to transition to renewables is one of the better ways to wean the world off oil. In order to do that, they need to be able to make money off their renewable projects.

Re:So what's the problem exactly?

By gbjbaanb • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Most of those "big oil" companies are already moving to renewables - Royal Dutch Shell for example is one. A lot of the stuff they'll be doing right now will be pilot programs, they are spending IIRC $2bn a year on this. They plan to be net-zero by 2050.

But they will do so in a manner that makes sense economically, as the tech develops, matures and can be shown to work. They will not be driven by pie-in-the-sky fantasy or ideology.

Which is why they will be hated by the usual lot of SJWs eager to "change the world".

Twitter Orders Politicians, Journalists To Fortify Passwords Before Election

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Twitter will require certain political candidates, elected officials and journalists to beef up their passwords, the company said Thursday, in an effort to head off any more breaches of high-profile accounts as the 2020 election draws near. From a report: The change comes two months after an embarrassing cyberattack in which hackers exploited Twitter employees' credentials to wrest control of dozens of accounts, including those of former President Barack Obama, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and Microsoft founder Bill Gates. The steps announced Thursday would not have prevented that hack but could foil less sophisticated exploits. Accounts deemed to have weak passwords will be compelled to make them stronger, and those users must now verify their phone number or email address before making password changes. The social media company will also encourage, but not force, high-profile users to implement two-factor authentication, a security measure that requires them to input a unique code in addition to their password.

Rules....

By Rockoon • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
Your password must contain 75 upper case letters, 75 lower case letters, 25 symbols from this set of 4 symbols, and 25 digits.

Why?

By bazmail • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
The hacks are never brute force password attacks. They are greedy employees doing an inside job.

Mozilla Shuts Down Firefox Send and Firefox Notes Services

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Mozilla is shutting down two of its legacy products, Firefox Send and Firefox Notes, the company announced today. From a report: "Both services are being decommissioned and will no longer be a part of our product family," a Mozilla spokesperson told ZDNet this week. Of the two, the most beloved was Firefox Send, a free file-sharing service, and one of the few that supported sharing files in encrypted formats. Launched in March 2019, the service gained a dedicated fanbase but Send was taken offline earlier this summer after ZDNet reported on its constant abuse by malware groups. At the time, Mozilla said that Send's shutdown was temporary and promised to find a way to curb the service's abuse in malware operations. But weeks later, things changed after Mozilla leadership laid off more than 250 employees as part of an effort to re-focus its business on commercial products.

Re:Why?

By RandomUsername99 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Funny how easy and cheap things are in assumption land.

Maintenance is absolutely expensive for production services, especially one as resource-intensive as a file-sharing service. Ops and internal support. Security updates. Keeping people around who understand enough about the products to be reliable stewards. Even if it was 1 FT developer to do the maintenance work and pieces of a bunch of other people's time to do the other work, it would still be a few hundred thousand a year in payroll/benefits alone. Then you've got bandwidth and processing time, especially if they were using AWS et al rather than their own servers (which would probably be a wash with procurement, maintenance, IT, etc.) Keeping the visuals up-to-date with the company's branding standards. Project managers to coordinate the efforts to implement all of these things.

So, yeah. No.

Yes shut more services down

By xack • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Go back to being just being a browser. The whole internet wants a lean Firefox, but Mozilla got high on Google revenue until they spent it all to the point of layoffs on stuff like Firefox send and pocket.

Re:Yes shut more services down

By QuietLagoon • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
--- Go back to being just being a browser. --- ... Yes. A browser with a block of autoplay videos that actually works.

Legacy?

By RonVNX • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Legacy is now what we call something a year and a half old? Really?

A Utah Company Claims It Invented Contact Tracing Tech

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
In the fight against Covid-19, contact tracing apps have so far largely been disappointments -- in the United States, at least. Proposed in the spring as a way to help quickly stifle viral outbreaks by tracking down potential exposures using smartphones, they were stunted by technical glitches, concerns over privacy, and the US's fragmented, haphazard pandemic response. Now, they may become mired in a fight over patents. From a report: The challenge comes from Blyncsy, a Salt Lake City-based maker of software that helps cities gather and analyze mobility data. In recent weeks, the company has sent claims seeking the equivalent of $1 per resident to states that have released or plan to release contact tracing apps, including Pennsylvania, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Virginia. The company holds three patents related to contact tracing. One of them, granted in February 2019, for "tracking proximity relationships and uses thereof," describes methods of tracking the spread of "contagion" using technology such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and cellular signals. Apps launched by public health agencies during the Covid-19 pandemic infringe upon it, the company says.

In April, Blyncsy launched a portal for others to request a license for its technology and submit plans for a privacy review. That was shortly after Google and Apple jointly announced an effort to get contact tracing technology in the hands of state and national governments, using Bluetooth features on the companies' smartphones. Blyncsy did not get any takers. "State governments have taken it upon themselves to roll out a solution in their name in which they're using our property without compensation," says Blyncsy CEO Mark Pittman. He describes the current crop of contact tracing apps as "fly-by-night" efforts and says his patent fight is driven by concerns about their privacy and effectiveness, not an attempt to profit.

Software patents are void under Alice

By zoobab • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

We wrote about it in May already:

https://ffii.org/covid-19-trac...

Tomorrow there is an important vote on software patents in Germany and in Europe:

https://ffii.org/open-letter-t...

Won't they just go after Google & Apple?

By rsilvergun • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
regardless this is one of the most non-patentable things in the history of patents. It's painfully obvious to anyone in the field.

Re:Patent Reform

By omnichad • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

We can all claim that it is "non-obvious" when we've seen their implementation in the real world for years. But just about everyone independently came to the same conclusion and probably were not aware of this patent. That would be enough, in reasonable terms, to call it "obvious." It's just existing tech + privacy mitigation = method.

Some background, and international adoption

By kaur • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The original contact tracing protocol is / was DP-3T, described here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

The one implemented in iOS and Android is GAEN, Google Apple Exposure Notification:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

GAEN is quite a formidable feat both as a privacy-preserving protocol and as an implementation. Google and Apple announced this jointly on the same day in April, just a month in to the real pandemic. GAEN is also a great boon to the international society. It is decentralized (as is DP-3T) and privacy-preserving. Without GAEN, the governments of the world would have buiit their own, centralized, location-based tracking apps. The social graphs of the citizens and their location data would all be exposed to the governments. For US or Chinese citizens, this means nothing as the US government can get this data from Google, Apple or the phone manufacturers anyway. For the rest of the world, this makes a huge difference. My government can currently NOT get my location data easily. And the joint protocol + implementation by Google + Apple will keep it so.

Goverments now do implement their tracking apps based on GAEN, because it is both easy and secure. The protocol is already on the phones, and there are reference implementations available. A country only needs to add the local UI (in a local language & branding), add integration with local health services (to allow citizens to declare themselves as contagious), roll out and be done.

Look at the implementation list in Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.... I can only wish governments luck on implementing this.

The thing to notice here is how Google and Apple overplayed all governments of the world by joint and swift action. In the current case, this is a good thing - GAEN is better and more secure / private than the location-based and other approaches that the national govermnents had. In some cases, the GPS-based apps have been pulled and replaced by GAEN-based ones already.

However, in the long run, this is scary. The digital sovreignty of a country (or state) means nothing. What the US-based mobile giants do, the rest of the world will use and follow.

lol

By Kryptonut • Score: 3 • Thread

"says his patent fight is driven by concerns about their privacy and effectiveness, not an attempt to profit."

Riiiiiiight....purely selfless.....for the people.

So will 100% of the money collected go towards Covid-19 vaccine research, or privacy groups?

Voice Assistants Are Doing a Poor Job of Conveying Information About Voting

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Kyle Wiggers, reporting for VentureBeat: Over 111.8 million people in the U.S. talk to voice assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant every month, eMarketer estimates. Tens of millions of those people use assistants as data-finding tools, with the Global Web Index reporting that 25% of adults regularly perform voice searches on smartphones. But while voice assistants can answer questions about pop culture and world events like a pro, preliminary evidence suggests they struggle to supply information about elections. In a test of popular assistants' abilities to provide accurate, localized context concerning the upcoming U.S. presidential election, VentureBeat asked Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant a set of standardized questions about procedures, deadlines, and misconceptions about voting. In general, the assistants fared relatively poorly, often answering questions with information about voting in other states or punting questions to the web instead of answering them directly.

Not only about voting

By OneHundredAndTen • Score: 4 • Thread
Voice assistants pretty much still remain what they have been since they were deployed first: gimmicks good for party games, grins and giggles, and very, very little else. For the most part, it is easier to get things done yourself than trying to twist their arm into understanding what it is that you want. They will tell you the height of mount Everest and the weather forecast all right; but once there is a little bit of vagueness and/or ambiguity in your request, they spins their wheels badly.

If you're voting by mail vote immediately

By rsilvergun • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
and put two stamps on your ballot. You will want at least 10-14 days for your ballot to travel due to post office delays caused by recent changes (sorting machines have been disabled or destroyed and postal worker hours have been cut back recently).

If in doubt wear a mask and drop it off.

Do not vote in person unless your state does not allow it. Get a ballot and drop it off so you don't hold a spot in line. Remember that not everyone can wait in line 4-8 hours to vote.

Finally check if you're registered today. Voter roll purges are frequent and many states will purge you from the rolls if your current address is even slightly off from what they expect. Make sure your address is up to date. Georgia sends small, easily lost post cards to voters every year and if you get one they will purge your unless you respond to it.

It's safe to say there is an active campaign to suppress voting this year. If you want your voice heard you need to make sure your ducks are in a row.

First Intel Tiger Lake Benchmarks Show Big CPU and Graphics Performance Gains

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
MojoKid writes: Intel formally announced its 11th Gen Core mobile processor family, known by the code name Tiger Lake, a few weeks back and made some bold performance claims for it as well. The company even compared its quad-core variant to AMD's 8-core Ryzen 7 4800U in gaming and content creation. Today Intel lifted the embargo veil on benchmarks with its Core i7-1185G7 Tiger Lake CPU with on-board Iris Xe graphics and there's no question Tiger Lake is impressive. Intel indeed achieved single-threaded performance gains north of 20% with even larger deltas for multithreaded throughput in some cases as well. In addition, Tiger Lake's integrated Iris Xe graphics put up over 2X the gaming performance over the company's 10th Gen Ice Lake processors, and it looks to be the fastest integrated graphics solution for laptops on the market currently, besting AMD's Ryzen 4000 series as well. Battery life measurements are still out, however, as retail ready products have yet to hit the channel. Intel notes Tiger Lake-powered laptops from OEM partners should be available in the next month or so.

Intel Benchmarks are Worthless

By nagora • Score: 4 • Thread

Until we know what security holes they opened to get the high scores.

Anandtech

By Artem S. Tashkinov • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
Anandtech has tested the CPU as well. Their conclusions are not so rosy.

Re:Part of me wonders if Intel's been sitting on t

By rsilvergun • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
Yeah, but real men own fabs. :)

Great!

By DontBeAMoran • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

I can't wait to buy a new Mac mini with these new intel proc... oh wait.

Re:It would have to be better

By DontBeAMoran • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

You obviously didn't read through to the article. Congratulations, you passed the test! Your Slashdot membership has been renewed!

Google 'Formally' Bans Stalkerware Apps From the Play Store

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Google has updated its Play Store rules to impose a "formal" ban on stalkerware apps, but the company has left a pretty huge loophole in place for stalkerware to be uploaded on the official store as child-tracking applications. From a report: Stalkerware is a term used to describe apps that track a user's movements, snoop on calls and messages, and record other apps' activity. Stalkerware, also known as spouseware, is usually advertised to users as a way to discover cheating partners, track children while outside their homes, and as a way to keep an eye on employees at work. The primary feature of all stalkerware apps, regardless if they're intended to be used on smartphones or laptops, is that these apps can be installed and run without the device owner's knowledge, operating in the operating system's background. Over the past decade, the Play Store has hosted hundreds of applications that fit into the stalkerware category. Google, which has intervened to take down stalkerware apps when they've been pointed out by security researchers, has usually avoided making public statements on the topic.

If you install this on your spouse's phone

By LenKagetsu • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

You are the problem in your relationship. No buts.

But if they're chea-

No law in civilized nations grants you exclusive rights to someone's body.

As if that meant anything

By SuperKendall • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

Thanks to the ability of people to easily install apps from sources besides Play, stalkerware can still easily be added to any Android device...

That is the world people seem to want to bring to iOS users. Resist the siren call to weaken platform security.

this is not about privacy, this is competition...

By argStyopa • Score: 3 • Thread

Understand that banning "... apps that track a user's movements, snoop on calls and messages, and record other apps' activity..." is a way of destroying competition, not protecting your privacy.

Google ITSELF does all of those things, CONSTANTLY.

All the things.

By itiswhatitiwijgalt • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread
It should probably add facebook, ticktok, twitter, instagram... to the list.

Google Maps?

By Mike Van Pelt • Score: 3 • Thread

My wife and I share each others' locations on Google Maps, so either of us can see where the other is. I hope they don't take this capability away, because we both find it very useful. (It sends periodic "Just want to make sure you know you're sharing your location with ..." emails, so it's nothing covert.)

Cloudflare and the Wayback Machine, Joining Forces For a More Reliable Web

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Cloudflare and the Internet Archive are now working together to help make the web more reliable. Websites that enable Cloudflare's Always Online service will now have their content automatically archived, and if by chance the original host is not available to Cloudflare, then the Internet Archive will step in to make sure the pages get through to users. From a report: Cloudflare has become core infrastructure for the Web, and we are glad we can be helpful in making a more reliable web for everyone."The Internet Archive's Wayback Machine has an impressive infrastructure that can archive the web at scale," said Matthew Prince, co-founder and CEO of Cloudflare. "By working together, we can take another step toward making the Internet more resilient by stopping server issues for our customers and in turn from interrupting businesses and users online."

For more than 20 years the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine has been archiving much of the public Web, and making those archives available to journalists, researchers, activists, academics and the general public, in total to hundreds of thousands of people a day. To date more than 468 billion Web pages are available via the Wayback Machine and we are adding more than 1 billion new archived URLs/day. We archive URLs that are identified via a variety of different methods, such as "crawling" from lists of millions of sites, as submitted by users via the Wayback Machine's "Save Page Now" feature, added to Wikipedia articles, referenced in Tweets, and based on a number of other "signals" and sources, such multiple feeds of "news" stories. An additional source of URLs we will preserve now originates from customers of Cloudflare's Always Online service. As new URLs are added to sites that use that service they are submitted for archiving to the Wayback Machine. In some cases this will be the first time a URL will be seen by our system and result in a "First Archive" event.

Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott Hacked After Posting Boarding Pass on Instagram

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott had his phone number and passport details obtained by a hacker after posting a picture of his boarding pass on Instagram. From a report: Hacker Alex Hope said he uncovered Mr Abbott's details from his Qantas boarding pass in just 45 minutes. He then spent months attempting to contact Mr Abbott to alert him of the security breach. Qantas said it had now updated its cyber security protocols. Mr Abbott posted an image of a boarding pass for his flight from Sydney to Tokyo on 21 March on his Instagram account, thanking the crew. Mr Hope said he received a message from a friend daring him to hack the former prime minister as they had recently been discussing the dangers of posting your boarding pass online. The hacker explained in a blog post published on Wednesday that he was able to find Mr Abbott's information because his booking reference was printed on the boarding pass.

He was then able to log in to Mr Abbott's booking and search through HTML code to find his passport number and phone number. The code also included conversations with Qantas staff about Mr Abbott. "I had Tony Abbott's passport number, phone number and weird Qantas messages about him. I was the only one who knew I had these," Mr Hope said in a blog post. "Anyone who saw that Instagram post could also have them. I felt like I had to like, tell someone about this. Someone with like, responsibilities. Someone with an email signature." Mr Hope said he contacted the Australian Signals Directorate which handles cyber security. They thanked him for bringing the issue to their attention and said they would investigate.

Bad practice

By Carrier Lifetime • Score: 3 • Thread

Spitting out passport numbers in plain HTML is a really bad practice. Did they think that if it is not displayed nobody will see it? Or maybe it was outsourced to some cheap offshore IT shop and they didn't care since and nobody at Quantas did any audit of the code? Though an audit of the code could be as expensive as writing the code in the first place.

Re:Tony Abbott hacked?

By OzPeter • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

The title should read "Former Prime Minister and lifelong idiot"

You're talking about Tony Abbot, so "lifelong idiot" is redundant.

Let's see

By cmdr_klarg • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

For his sake I hope that they don't decide to shoot the messenger.

spent months?

By gbjbaanb • Score: 3 • Thread

If he spent months trying to contact Mr Abbot to inform him of the security breach that revealed details including his phone number.

If only he had the guy's phone number, it would have been easy!

Stupid is as stupid does

By OneHundredAndTen • Score: 3 • Thread
Mr. Abbot has proved, time and again, that he is a rather stupid individual, and this is just another example of his stupidity. Maybe that's why the no. 10 buffoon has recruited him?

YouTube's Recommendation System is Criticized as Harmful. Mozilla Wants To Research It

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
YouTube's video recommendation system has been repeatedly accused by critics of sending people down rabbit holes of disinformation and extremism. Now Mozilla, the nonprofit that makes the Firefox browser, wants YouTube's users to help it research how the controversial algorithms work. From a report: Mozilla on Thursday announced a project that asks people to download a software tool that gives Mozilla's researchers information on what video recommendations people are receiving on the Google-owned platform. YouTube's algorithms recommend videos in the "What's next" column along the right side of the screen, inside the video player after the content has ended, or on the site's homepage. Each recommendation is tailored to the person watching, taking into account things like their watch history, list of channel subscriptions or location. The recommendations can be benign, like another live performance from the band you're watching. But critics say YouTube's recommendations can also lead viewers to fringe content, like medical misinformation or conspiracy theories.

Re: How is it harmful?

By klipclop • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Youtube will sneak in some pretty random shit into my feed. It's almost like click bait to try to get you to check it out from curiosity and to try and keep you on as long as possible. Luckily I already know what they are trying to do and ignore those " recommendations"

Re: Harmful

By ToasterMonkey • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Show of hands all, who has NOT had YouTube auto-play go from ok to what the hell in three videos.

Yah, now what were you saying?

Egypt?

By Arthur, KBE • Score: 4 • Thread
It seems no matter what type of content I'm watching, within two videos, nearly all the recommendations have something to do with ancient Egypt. This isn't something I've searched out, and it happens even without being logged in.

Re:Waste of resources

By Anne Thwacks • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Shouldn't they be spending the donations they get from their users on something useful, like you know,making their browser better.

Yes, but the evidence is: if you give them more money, they will spend it on making the browser worse.

Re:Harmful

By iampiti • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Agree. Youtube's recommendations are usually very good and things I'm interested in. I don't think I've ever been suggested a video about extremist politics or conspiracy theories. And I suspect that if that happened such suggestions would go away if I just ignored them. Also, I'm an adult, I don't need babysitting

Patient Dies After Hospital Hit By Ransomware Attack

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
wiredmikey writes: A patient died after a German hospital was hit by ransomware attack, when hackers thought they were targeting a university. German authorities said that what appears to have been a misdirected hacker attack impacted systems at a major hospital in Duesseldorf, and a woman who needed urgent admission died after she had to be taken to another city for treatment. Duesseldorf police established contact and told the attacker that the hospital, and not the university, had been affected, endangering patients. The attacker then withdrew the extortion attempt and provided a digital key to decrypt the data.

Re:broken hospital system

By bill_mcgonigle • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

> If patients are dying because the computer is down then the system is broken. Fix the system, have backup processes, save people. No one needed to die.

Can confirm. Was involved in hospital disaster recovery in a former life. The bastard in charge would, once a year, go into the data center and cut power. That's why he was the bastard in charge - no bullshit survived, no feelings kept the computer systems running.

Despite all the speculation on IT, this seems like it was a triage problem. She was misdiagnosed before being sent elsewhere, I'm sure. Either that or somebody is criminally negligent in this.

Modern people hate that things like triage have an error rate. Even Starfleet Sick Bay had a death rate because not everybody can be saved. And our science is orangs-going-spearfishing compared to a medical tricorder.
  "Dialysis? My god, what is this, the Dark Ages?"

It's true, tho.

Re:Extortion Upgraded to Murder

By gweihir • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

That is not how the legal system works in Germany. There was no intent to kill, hence this cannot be murder. This is a legal system still aimed at reforming criminals, so it tries to be fair. The US system just tries to destroy those heretics that dared to violate the state-given quasi-divine order, hence it heaps any and all conceivable charges on the accused.

Re:Murder anyone?

By amorsen • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

So American. Always trying to fix things by putting people in jail forever and draining resources from the places most in need.

The perpetrator did not intend to kill someone. It was an accident. That is involuntary manslaughter, not murder. The attacker can almost certainly be rehabilitated. Punish appropriately.
The hospital did not intend to get hit by ransomware. The hospital should be forced to undergo security compliance audits. It should not be made to pay huge fines. That just drives up cost for society while not actually encouraging improved behaviour.

Re:Wow

By omnichad • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The patient never even showed up at this hospital. They were referred to the other hospital before they ever left home because this hospital was not admitting patients.

Re:Extortion Upgraded to Murder

By MobyDisk • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

You really have no idea about fundamental legal principles.

No, YOU have no idea about fundamental legal principles, since this IS one. This goes back at least to the 18th century, around the time of William Blackstone, when legal philosophy was being developed and criticized and formalized. It has stood over 200 years of criticism and analysis. I'd wager that you just found out about this about an hour ago when you read that post, and instantly decided that two and a half centuries of philosophy that you have never heard of must be wrong.

Amazon Plans To Put 1,000 Warehouses In Suburban Neighborhoods

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Amazon plans to open 1,000 small delivery hubs in cities and suburbs all over the U.S., according to people familiar with the plans. The facilities, which will eventually number about 1,500, will bring products closer to customers, making shopping online about as fast as a quick run to the store. It will also help the world's largest e-commerce company take on a resurgent Walmart. Amazon couldn't fulfill its two-day delivery pledge earlier this year when shoppers in Covid-19 lockdown flooded the company with more orders than it could handle. While delivery times have improved thanks to the hiring of 175,000 new workers, Amazon is now consumed with honoring a pre-pandemic pledge to get many products to Prime subscribers on the same day. So with the holidays approaching, Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos is doubling down by investing billions in proximity, putting warehouses and swarms of blue vans in neighborhoods long populated with car dealerships, fast-food joints, shopping malls and big-box stores. Amazon didn't comment on the expansion plans, but has said its last-mile delivery efforts are meant to supplement, not replace, its long-time partners. "Our dedicated last-mile delivery network just delivered its 10 billionth package since launching over five years ago, and we're proud to provide a great service for our customers," an Amazon spokeswoman said.

"In just a few years, Amazon has built its own UPS," says Marc Wulfraat, president of the logistics consulting firm MWPVL International Inc., who estimates Amazon will deliver 67% of its own packages this year and increase that to 85%. "Amazon keeps spreading itself around the country, and as it does, its reliance on UPS will go away."

Re:Let's call it what it really is

By aitikin • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

I've had far more packages punctured and/or folded into very strange shapes by FedEx than by UPS. YMMV, I guess.

As someone who works for a company that literally ships thousands of packages a day through both FedEx and UPS, I can confidently say that it depends on the area and depends on if it's shipping Ground (often outsourced for the last mile by both carriers) or Express (almost always, if not always, handled the entire way by the carriers themselves). My company primarily ships FedEx and, for the most part, we find them to be the better of the two, but we have literally thousands of clients that have problems with FedEx in their areas, so we ship UPS to them.

The worst we've dealt with is USPS though. My shipping manager has the, "Priority Fail" meme saved to her desktop because of how often we have issues with them, even before this year's slowdowns.

Personally, I prefer FedEx as they will do "Hold at Location" for pretty much any FedEx Office and many other places like Walgreens for free, whereas UPS Stores are franchised and can charge or simply refuse to hold packages for customers.

Buy up old malls

By RogueWarrior65 • Score: 3 • Thread

Prediction: Amazon is going to buy up old malls and anchor store locations (e.g. Sears) and not just use them as warehouses but eventually turn them back into warehouse-style retail locations (think Home Depot, Lowe's, Costco).

Re:Walmart+ blows prime away

By omnichad • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Walmart is directly gaming welfare programs by giving employees fewer than full-time hours so they can claim that the person should be working two jobs anyway (which is impossible to schedule around).

The customers bought into cheap prices because they're just like any shareholder and demand immediate payoff rather than long-term success.

At least Amazon mostly hires real employees - even if they abuse them pretty badly. Their delivery service on the other hand is a subcontracting nightmare.

Please stop using amazon

By wakeboarder • Score: 3 • Thread

Before they take over the world

Online is killing me

By kaatochacha • Score: 3 • Thread

It used to be when I needed something like, say a HD to replace on that had failed, I'd roll down to my local shop and buy it. I'd have it running in around 3 hours. Cost was $X
Now, in the future, if my drive fails I can order it online for $X-Y. but shipping is Y meaning the price is a wash, and it takes two days to get to me.

How is this any better?

Disney+ Takes First Emmy Win With 'The Mandalorian' For Visual Effects

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
At the Creative Arts Emmys on Wednesday night, The Mandalorian not only scored its first Emmy but also won the first Emmy for Disney+. Deadline reports: As a brand new streamer, this year marks the first year of eligibility for Disney+. The Mandalorian has racked up a staggering 15 Emmy nominations with 8 of those trophies being handed out tonight. Outstanding Special Visual Effects is the first win for the sci-fi series that stars Pedro Pascal as the titular masked hero and introduced the world to Baby Yoda -- which won everyone's hearts. This win will likely be the first of many tonight and at Sunday's ceremony. The Mandalorian is also up for Outstanding Drama Series as well as Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance for Taika Waitti's role as droid IG-11 and Outstanding Guest Actor In A Drama Series for Giancarlo Esposito's performance as Moff Gideon.

Congratulations, Disney...

By jcr • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

For the one tiny ember of entertainment left in the entire Star Was franchise after the SJWs chewed it up and shat it out.

-jcr

Re: Congratulations, Disney...

By pele • Score: 4 • Thread

Not afraid of women in the least, afraid of incompetent sociopaths who pull a gender/race/nationality/whatever card every time they don't have a valid reason for defending a view and I might add - irrespective of their gender/fluidity/dayofweekidentity/etc...
Btw, what's a "SJW"?

Their only hope.

By jcr • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

If they're ever going to get Star Was back on its feet again, they need to bury the last three movies deeper than The Song of the South, and hit it out of the park with the next movie.

Maybe Favreau can do it, maybe Peter Jackson could, maybe Ron Howard could do it if he had full control from the beginning instead of coming in at the last minute to try to save a train wreck. I long for the days when I thought the Ewoks were the stupidest thing I'd ever see in a Star Wars movie.

-jcr

Re: Congratulations, Disney...

By jcr • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

"SJW" stands for "Social Justice Warrior". It's an ironic pejorative term for lefturds who imagine themselves as crusaders for justice through racial discrimination (which they call "reparations" or "affirmative action"), and demonstrate this by trying to heap guilt on anyone who disagrees with them, or just happens to be in the vicinity when they want to throw a tantrum.

The typical SJW is either a snotty little undergrad who's never worked a day in its life, and resents its parents for their inattention, or sometimes a tax-dependent geriatric hippie who's furious at those who produce the wealth that's taxed to keep its worthless ass alive. SJWs are also found among Hollywood bubbleheads who, knowing that they are utterly devoid of virtue, feel a compulsion to "virtue signal" by mouthing idiotic slogans, never realizing that it's not virtue that they're signaling.

The cleverest SJWs are scumbags like Harvey Weinstein, who kept up his pretense for decades, and the dumbest ones are academics who pile on credentials for bullshit pseudo-intellectual "studies" like "intersectionality" and "critical theory."

-jcr

Re: Congratulations, Disney...

By jcr • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The problem wasn't that they had a female lead, the problem was that the writing sucked, and Kennedy didn't care because they had a female lead. Darth Emo and Miracle Girl weren't enough to make an entertaining movie, no matter how much they spent on the CGI and publicity.

-jcr

Scientists Say a Mind-Bending Rhythm In the Brain Can Act Like Ketamine

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
In mice and one person, scientists were able to reproduce out-of-body experiences often associated with ketamine by inducing certain brain cells to fire together in a slow-rhythmic fashion. The findings have been published in the journal Nature. NPR reports: "There was a rhythm that appeared and it was an oscillation that appeared only when the patient was dissociating," says Dr. Karl Deisseroth, a psychiatrist and neuroscientist at Stanford University. Dissociation is a brain state in which a person feels separated from their own thoughts, feelings and body. It is common in people with some mental illnesses, or who have experienced a traumatic event. It can also be induced by certain drugs, including ketamine and PCP (angel dust). Deisseroth's lab made the discovery while studying the brains of mice that had been given ketamine or other drugs that cause dissociation. The team was using technology that allowed them to monitor the activity of cells throughout the brain

"It was like pointing a telescope at a new part of the sky," Deisseroth says. "And something really unexpected jumped out at us." What jumped out was a very distinct rhythm produced by cells in an area involved in learning and navigation. Those cells were firing three times each second. To learn more, the team used a tool called optogenetics, which Deisseroth helped invent. It uses light to control the firing of specific cells in the brain. As a result, the team was able to artificially generate this rhythm in the brains of mice. We could see, right before our eyes, dissociation happening," Deisseroth says.

Out of body mice

By bickerdyke • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

How exactly to you ask mice if they had an out-of-body experience?

slang: "Getting Leary"

By rednip • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Should name it after Timothy Leary.

They didn't mention it but...

By Viol8 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

... its the same sort of thing a lot of ultra-religious people describe. And lets be honest, they tend to be a bit wierd to start with so no surprise if their brains are malfunctioning at a basic level too.

Not news. This has been know since decades.

By Qbertino • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Robert Allan Monroe discovered the hemi-sync effect a few decades back and did some extensive brain research with that. It's gentleman fringe science, but the effect is undeniable.There is an extensive line of sounds for brain hemi-sync that triggers OBEs among other things. You can get them here (not affiliated).

I practiced "Astral Projection" for about 6 years daily as a teenager and young adult. Never did drugs, just the occasional Hemi-Sync Sounds, but most of it was "simple" mediation practice (Zen and some other stuff). Not easy and takes patience and practice. I finally got so far that I could block out sounds. I was always pushing for an OBE. One day I finally got there. "Peeling/flowing out of the body", "Buzzung/Humming sensation" the "tunnel" ... it was all there. Absolutely extatic. And scary as hell once I noticed "Oh, fuck, this is it, I'm leaving my body. ... Nope, not happening." Popped out, sat up, gasped in fear and joy and never attempted it again. That's what an extrasensory wuss I am. LOL.

Again, no external drugs, just practice. The difference in consciousness is about the same as between semi-lucid dreaming and regular awake state of mind. Up that the next level, you get the healthy non-drug OBE. It's mind-blowing and extremely soothing at the same time. I'm now 50 and think I might pick it up again and maybe go back there and further. It changes your outlook on life and death quite notably.

If you're looking to "expand your consciousness" and steer clear of drugs like I do, I highly recommend giving it a try.

My 2 eurocents.