Transportation

Man Blames Tesla Autopilot System For Rollover Crash, Then Recants (autoguide.com) 126

According to AutoGuide, the driver of a Tesla is blaming the Autopilot system for a recent crash in Minnesota. "58-year old David Clark was approaching an intersection when he turned the Autopilot system on, causing the car to accelerate suddenly and veer off the road," reports AutoGuide. "The vehicle ended up on its roof in a marsh with all five occupants sustaining minor injuries." From the report: Tesla's Autopilot function is considered an SAE Level 2 autonomous system, meaning the car will accelerate and steer on its own, but the driver is expected to remain alert and intervene if necessary. In an emailed statement to Electrek, Tesla said it has yet to establish whether or not the Autopilot function was actually turned on at the time of the accident. The company also noted it is still the driver's responsibility to ensure the safe operation of the vehicle when Autopilot is engaged. AutoGuide's report was based off the information Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office received and reported. Now, it appears the Tesla driver is claiming the self-driving Autopilot system wasn't responsible for the crash, despite what he initially told investigators. According to ABC News, Clark said he was confused in the moments after the crash. After discussing the crash with his fellow passengers, he now believes that he disengaged Autopilot by stepping on the accelerator before the crash. "I then remember looking up and seeing the sharp left turn which I was accelerating into. I believe we started to make the turn but then felt the car give way and lose its footing like we hit loose gravel," Clark wrote in the email.
XBox (Games)

Microsoft's Project Scorpio Will Pack Internal PSU, 4K Game DVR Capture (windowscentral.com) 44

According to an exclusive report from Windows Central, Microsoft's upcoming "Project Scorpio" gaming console will feature an internal power supply unit (PSU), similar to the Xbox One S, and 4K game DVR and streaming at 60 frames-per-second (FPS). From the report: In Microsoft's efforts to make Project Scorpio a true 4K system, it will also feature HEVC and VP9 codecs for decoding 4K streams for things such Netflix, just like the Xbox One S. It will also leverage HEVC for encoding 2160p, 60 frame-per-second (FPS) video for Game DVR and streaming. Microsoft's Beam streaming service has been running public 4K stream tests for some time, and it's now fair to assume it will not only be PC streamers who will benefit. Project Scorpio's Game DVR will allow you to stream and record clips in 4K resolution with 60FPS, according to our sources, which is a massive, massive step up from the 720p, 30FPS you get on the current Xbox One. With every bit of information we receive about Project Scorpio, the theme of native 4K keeps appearing -- not only for games, but also console features. We now believe Scorpio will sport 4K Game DVR, 4K Blu-ray playback, and 4K streaming apps, but the real showstopper will be the 4K games Microsoft will likely flaunt at E3 2017.
Iphone

All Three New 2017 iPhones To Feature Wireless Charging, Says Analyst (macrumors.com) 143

In late October, Nikkei Asian Review released a report claiming Foxconn was testing wireless charging modules for the iPhone 8. Another report has surfaced recently that further reinforces those claims. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo now claims that all three new iPhones expected to launch later this year will feature wireless charging. MacRumors reports: Kuo said wireless charging increases the internal temperature of smartphones, so he expects the rumored iPhone 8 with an OLED display and glass casing to have a new 3D Touch module with "additional graphite sheet lamination" in order to prevent the device from malfunctioning due to overheating. An excerpt from Kuo's research note obtained by MacRumors: "While we don't expect general users to notice any difference, lamination of an additional graphite sheet is needed for better thermal control and, thus, steady operation; this is because FPCB is replaced with film, which is more sensitive to temperature change of the 3D touch sensor in OLED iPhone." The new 3D Touch module could be up to $5 more expensive for Apple to procure per phone. While that is a minimal increase, it lends further credence to a report claiming the high-end iPhone 8 could cost upwards of $1,000 in the United States due to a significant redesign and the use of premium parts.
Android

Google Is Rolling Out Android 7.1.1 (engadget.com) 75

Google is rolling out Android 7.1.1 for Pixel and Nexus smartphones, including the Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, Pixel, Pixel XL, Nexus Player, Pixel C and General Mobile 4G (Android One). You can download it over-the-air when it becomes available "over the next several weeks" or flash it yourself. Engadget details some of the new features found in Android 7.1.1: As for what you can find from a feature perspective, Google has added support for its "image keyboard" that lets you easily find and send pictures and GIFs without leaving your messaging app of choice. Google says it'll work inside of Hangouts, Allo, and the default Messaging app. Ironically enough, the feature has been available in the Gboard iOS keyboard that Google launched in the spring, but it's good to see it coming to more Android phones now. Android 7.1.1 also includes Google's latest set of more diverse emoji, specifically focused on showing a "wider range of professions" for women. And it also contains the excellent app shortcut feature that originally launched on the Pixel -- if you press and hold on an app's icon, a sub-menu of shortcuts will show up. You'll be able to quickly send a message to a specific contact or navigate to a saved location using these shortcuts, for example. They're very much like the "force touch" shortcuts found on the iPhone, but that doesn't make them any less useful.
Communications

Instagram Launches Disappearing Live Video and Messages (techcrunch.com) 18

Instagram is continuing to add features to its service to woo Snapchat and Periscope users. Today, the company will be rolling out two big new features to Instagram Stories on iOS and Android: live video on Instagram Stories and disappearing photos and videos for groups and friends in Instagram Direct. TechCrunch reports: Instagram Live is the most ephemeral of the major Live streaming platforms now that Meerkat is defunct. While Periscope started with a 24 hour expiration date, it eventually allowed permanent replays like Facebook Live. Instagram Live videos disappear as soon as the stream stops, which could get people broadcasting more frequently rather than saving the capability just for big flashy events or citizen journalism. Meanwhile, viewers will feel greater urgency to watch immediately because they know it's their only chance. Instagram Direct already has 300 million monthly users, but all of the messages are permanent. The existing product lets you send text, photos, and videos, and posts from Instagram to friends and discuss them. But with Instagram Stories now letting you communicate visually with overlaid text and drawing, Instagram needed a way to share these 'Gramsterpieces' privately. Now Direct will have an ephemeral Stories messages bar at the top along with a list of permanent threads below. When you go to share a photo or video to Instagram Stories, you'll be able to also select friends or groups of friends to send it to. It's much like how you can send Snapchat Stories as private messages, but adds in a groups feature. Recipients can watch the messages once, and replay them once, but then they're gone.
IOS

Apple Releases iOS 10.1 With New Portrait Mode For iPhone 7 Plus (macrumors.com) 50

Apple has released iOS 10.1 to the public today for all iOS 10 users, and with it comes several new features, a long list of bug fixes, and various other under-the-hood improvements. One of the biggest new features introduced is a new "Portrait" mode, which uses the dual cameras in the iPhone 7 Plus to create shallow depth of field portrait photos with plenty of background bokeh. MacRumors reports: To achieve the blurred look, the image signal processor in the device uses the wide-angle camera to create a depth map while the telephoto captures an image, dissecting the different layers of the photo to decide what to blur with an artful "bokeh" effect. It works on people, pets, and objects, but it does require good lighting to achieve the proper results. The update also [...] brings Transit directions to Japan for the first time. There have been some tweets to the Messages app. It's now possible to play Bubble and Screen effects in Messages with Reduce Motion enabled, something that wasn't previously possible. There's also a new option to replay Bubble and Screen effects. It's important to the note that the "Portrait" mode is still in beta, and will not work flawlessly. Mac Rumors has a full list of the changes made to iOS 10.1 embedded in their report, which you can view here.
Communications

Facebook 'Messenger Day' Is the Chat App's New Snapchat Stories Clone (techcrunch.com) 13

An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Facebook is stealing the Stories format and invading countries where Snapchat isn't popular yet. Today in Poland it launched "Messenger Day," which lets people share illustrated filter-enhanced photos and videos that disappear in 24 hours, just like on Snapchat. Much of the feature works exactly like Snapchat Stories, with the ability to draw or add text to images. Facebook's one big innovation with Messenger Day is the use of graphic filters as suggestions for what to share, instead of just to celebrate holidays and events or to show off your location like with Snapchat's geofilters. At the top of the Messenger thread list, users see a row of tiles representing "My Day" and friends' Days they can watch, but there are also prompts like "I'm Feeling," "Who's Up For?" and "I'm Doing." Tapping on these tiles provides a range of filters "I'm feeling [...] so blue" with raindrops and a bubbly blue font, "I'm feeling [...] blessed" with a glorious gold sparkly font, "Who's up for [...] road trip" with a cute car zooming past, or "Who's up for [...] Let's grab drinks" with illustrated beer mugs and bottles that cover the screen. This feature allows people to share visually appealing images even if they aren't great artists or especially creative. These prompts could also spur usage when people are bored, sparking their imagination. Messenger is already an app people use all day with close friends, so it could end up a better home for the Stories format than cramming it into Facebook's core app, which the company tested as "Quick Updates" and scrapped.
Java

TypeScript 2.0 Released (arstechnica.com) 89

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Since its introduction, TypeScript has included new features to improve performance, enhance JavaScript compatibility, and extend the range of error checking that the TypeScript compiler performs. TypeScript 2.0 introduces a big step forward here by giving developers greater control over null values. null, used to denote (in some broad, hand-waving sense) that a variable holds no value at all, has been called the billion dollar mistake. Time and time again, programs trip up by not properly checking to see if a variable is null, and for good or ill, every mainstream programming language continues to support the null concept. TypeScript 2.0 brings a range of new features, but the biggest is control over these null values. With TypeScript 2.0, programmers can opt into a new behavior that by default prevents values from being null. With this option enabled, variables by default will be required to have a value and can't be set to null accidentally. This in turn allows the compiler to find other errors such as variables that are never initialized.
Programming

W3C Set To Publish HTML 5.1, Work Already Started On HTML 5.2 (softpedia.com) 85

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Softpedia: Members of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) are getting ready to launch the HTML 5.1 specification and have already started work on the upcoming HTML 5.2 version since mid-August. The HTML 5.1 standard has been promoted from a "Release Candidate" to a "Proposed Recommendation," the last step before it becomes a "W3C Recommendation," and officially replaces HTML 5 as the current HTML standard. As a Proposed Recommendation, HTML 5.1 is practically locked against major changes, and outside small tweaks here and there, we are currently looking at a 99.99 percent version of the upcoming HTML 5.1 standard. The vote to promote HTML 5.1 from RC to PR was approved in unanimity, a clear sign that major browser makers have reached a general consensus on what the standard should look like, and what they should be implementing in their browsers in upcoming versions. You can read more on HTML 5.1 here, the changes and support table here, and the HTML 5.2 specification draft here.
Mozilla

Firefox 49 Arrives With Improvements (venturebeat.com) 129

An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla today launched Firefox 49 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. The new version includes expanded multi-process support, improvements to Reader Mode, and offline page viewing on Android. The built-in voice and video calling feature Firefox Hello, meanwhile, has been removed from the browser. First up, Firefox 49 brings two improvements to Reader Mode. You can now adjust the text (width and line spacing), fonts, and even change the theme from light to dark. There is also a new Narrate option that reads the content of the page aloud. Next is the Mozilla's crusade to enable multi-process support, a feature that has been in development for years as part of the Electrolysis project. With the release of Firefox 48, Mozilla enabled multi-process support for 1 percent of users, slowly ramping up to nearly half of the Firefox Release channel. Initial tests showed a 400 percent improvement in overall responsiveness.Mozilla says at least "half a billion people around the world" use its Firefox browser.
Bug

Staff Breach At OneLogin Exposes Password Storage Feature (cso.com.au) 47

River Tam quotes a report from CSO Australia: Enterprise access management firm OneLogin has suffered an embarrassing breach tied to a single employee's credentials being compromised. OneLogin on Tuesday revealed the breach affected a feature called Secure Notes that allowed its users to "store information." That feature however is pitched to users as a secure way to digitally jot down credentials for access to corporate firewalls and keys to software product licenses. The firm is concerned Secure Notes was exposed to a hacker for at least one month, though it may have been from as early as July 2 through to August 25, according to a post by the firm. Normally these notes should have been encrypted using "multiple levels of AES-256 encryption," it said in a blog post. Several thousand enterprise customers, including high profile tech startups, use OneLogin for single sign-on to access enterprise cloud applications. The company has championed the SAML standard for single sign-on and promises customers an easy way to enable multi-factor authentication from devices to cloud applications. But it appears the company wasn't using multi-factor authentication for its own systems. OneLogin's CISO Alvaro Hoyos said a bug in its software caused Secure Notes to be "visible in our logging system prior to being encrypted and stored in our database." The firm later found out that an employees compromised credentials were used to access this logging system. The company has since fixed the bug on the same day it detected the bug. CSO adds that the firm "also implemented SAML-based authentication for its log management system and restricted access to a limited set of IP addresses."
Java

Slashdot Asks: What Are Your Favorite Java 8 Features? (infoworld.com) 427

New submitter liveedu shares with us a report from InfoWorld: When Java 8 was released two years ago, the community graciously accepted it, seeing it as a huge step toward making Java better. Its unique selling point is the attention paid to every aspect of the programming language, including JVM (Java Virtual Machine), the compiler, and other help-system improvements. Java is one of the most searched programming languages according to TIOBE index for July 2016, where Java ranks number one. Its popularity is also seen on LiveCoding, a social live coding platform for engineers around the world, where hundreds and thousands of Java projects are broadcasted live. InfoWorld highlights five Java 8 features for developers in their report: lambda expressions, JavaScript Nashorn, date/time APIs, Stream API and concurrent accumulators. But those features only scratch the surface. What makes Java 8 amazing in your opinion? What are your favorite Java 8 features that help you write high quality code? You can view the entire list of changes made to the programming language here.
Social Networks

YouTube Plans To Bring Photos, Polls, and Text To Its Video Service (venturebeat.com) 22

An anonymous reader quotes a report from VentureBeat: YouTube is developing a feature internally called Backstage where users can share photos, polls, links, text posts, and videos with their subscribers. Backstage is expected to launch by the end of the year, possibly this fall, on mobile and desktop, initially with select popular YouTube accounts and with limited features, VentureBeat has learned. Akin to a Facebook Timeline or Twitter profile, Backstage will live alongside the Home and Videos tabs within individual YouTube channels. Posts shared to Backstage will appear in reverse chronological order, and, crucially, will also appear in subscribers' feeds and notifications, making them highly visible to fans. While Backstage is expected to introduce entirely new types of content to YouTube, including tweet-like text posts and topical polls, it also presents new opportunities for video sharing. Backstage will eventually enable users to share both traditional YouTube videos and Backstage-only videos, possibly creating an opportunity for more intimate, or even ephemeral, video sharing between YouTubers and their fans.
Operating Systems

LibreOffice 5.2 Officially Released (softpedia.com) 103

prisoninmate writes from a report via Softpedia: LibreOffice 5.2 is finally here, after it has been in development for the past four months, during which the development team behind one of the best free office suites have managed to implement dozens of new features and improvements to most of the application's components. Key features include more UI refinements to make it flexible for anyone, standards-based document classification, forecasting functions in Calc, the spreadsheet editor, as well as lots of Writer and Impress enhancements. A series of videos are provided to see what landed in the LibreOffice 5.2 office suite, which is now available for download for GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows operating systems.
Software

Tesla Autopilot 2.0 Is Coming This Year, Source Confirms (technobuffalo.com) 136

An anonymous reader writes from a report via TechnoBuffalo: A source close to Tesla Motors confirmed to TechnoBuffalo that Tesla Autopilot 2.0 is coming soon. Other media outlets like Teslarati have reported on prototype Model S and Model X vehicles operating in the wild sporting two forward facing cameras, which may indicate part of the new hardware necessary to take advantage of Autopilot 2.0's additional features. "The dual camera system is capable of recognizing and reacting to stop signs and traffic lights with no driver input," said the source. The current Autopilot software cannot simply stop itself at a light or a stop sign on its own -- it needs a car in front of it in order to automatically slow down or stop. The added cameras should help Autopilot 2.0 read and react to traffic lights and stop signs, and thus bring Tesla's cars closer to autonomous driving. The source did mention that Tesla's current test vehicles with Autopilot 2.0 are running "very beta" software that was likely the precursor to v8.0. U.S. regulators are actively investigating 25,000 Tesla Model S cars after a fatal crash involving a vehicle using the "Autopilot" mode was reported. Despite the tragedy, Elon Musk recently said that Autopilot could save half a million lives every year if Tesla Autopilot was universally available.
The Almighty Buck

New Cars Are Too Expensive For The Typical Family, Says Study (gulfnews.com) 622

An anonymous reader quotes a report from GulfNews: A new analysis from Bankrate.com found that a median-income household in the U.S. could not afford the average price of a new vehicle in any of the 50 largest cities in the country, though cars are more affordable in some cities than others. The average price of a new car or light truck in 2016 is about $34,000, according to Kelley Blue Book. That's in part because new cars are loaded with helpful but expensive safety features like collision-avoidance systems. Bankrate calculated an "affordable" purchase price for major cities, using median incomes from U.S. census data, and factoring in costs for sales taxes and insurance. In San Jose, California -- the heart of Silicon Valley -- the median income is about $84,000, and an "affordable" new car purchase price is about $33,000 -- close to, but still below, the average new car price. In lower-income cities, however, affordable purchase prices for a typical family are far below the average cost of a new car. In Hartford, Connecticut, where the median income is about $29,000, an affordable purchase price is about $8,000 -- about a quarter of the average new-car price. Experian Automotive said the number of new cars bought with financing rose to more than 86 percent (Source: may be paywalled) in the first quarter of this year. The average loan amount topped $30,000, with the average term for a new-car loan in the 68-month range -- some stretch as long as seven years.
Communications

Facebook Messenger Now Has 11,000 Bots (theverge.com) 43

An anonymous reader writes: Three months after Facebook announced a platform for building bots that operate inside its Messenger app, Messenger chief David Marcus said in a blog post that more than 11,000 bots have been created. He also said 23,000 more developers have signed up to use tools provided by Wit.ai, a Facebook acquisition that automates conversational interactions between users and businesses. Facebook has yet to announce any numbers regarding how many users actually use the bots, but developers appear to be actively engaged. Facebook has said that bots will rapidly improve as more developers create them. Marcus did announce several new features for the platform. Bots can now respond with GIFs, audio, video, and other files "to help a brand's personality come across," Marcus said. They can now link Messenger profiles to customer accounts, such as a bank or online merchant. They're also getting some new UI elements: "quick replies" that suggest interactions for the user to help them set their expectations, and a "persistent menu" option for bots that displays available commands at all times so users don't have to remember them. A star system is now in place for users to rate bots and provide feedback directly to developers.
Slashdot also has a Facebook Messenger bot. You can chat with it by messaging the Slashdot Facebook page.
Operating Systems

Sony Agrees To Pay Millions To Gamers To Settle PS3 Linux Debacle (arstechnica.com) 232

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: After six years of litigation, Sony is now agreeing to pay the price for its 2010 firmware update that removed support for the Linux operating system in the PlayStation 3. Sony and lawyers representing as many as 10 million console owners reached the deal on Friday. Under the terms of the accord, (PDF) which has not been approved by a California federal judge yet, gamers are eligible to receive $55 if they used Linux on the console. The proposed settlement, which will be vetted by a judge next month, also provides $9 to each console owner that bought a PS3 based on Sony's claims about "Other OS" functionality. Under the plan, gamers eligible for a cash payment are "all persons in the United States who purchased a Fat PS3 model in the United States between November 1, 2006, and April 1, 2010." The accord did not say how much it would cost Sony, but the entertainment company is expected to pay out millions. On March 28, 2010, Sony announced that the update would "disable the 'Install Other OS' feature that was available on the PS3 systems prior to the current slimmer models." This feature, Sony claimed, would be removed "due to security concerns." Sony did not detail those "concerns," but the litigation alleged piracy was behind the decision. A gamer can get the $55, but they "must attest under oath to their purchase of the product and installation of Linux, provide proof of their purchase or serial number and PlayStation Network Sign-in ID, and submit some proof of their use of the Other OS functionality." To get the $9, PS3 owners must submit a claim, at the time they bought their console, they "knew about the Other OS, relied upon the Other OS functionality, and intended to use the Other OS functionality." Alternatively, a gamer "must attest that he or she lost value and/or desired functionality or was otherwise injured as a consequence of Firmware Update 3.21 issued on April 1, 2010," to get $9.
Communications

Facebook Now Lets Users Comment With a Video (techcrunch.com) 29

An anonymous reader writes: As internet users continue to consume more videos than ever before, Facebook has decided to further add to the trend and officially launch video comments. Users are watching so many videos that the Cisco Visual Networking Index forecasts internet video traffic will represent 82% of all consumer internet traffic by 2020. Facebook said via a blog post that the new feature was developed at Facebook's 50th Hackathon. The team that built the feature included: Bob Baldwin who lead the initiative with Hermes Pique and Sameer Madan working on iOS, Muhammed Ibrahim worked on the web, and Billy Ng worked on Android. Baldwin's past projects consisted of features that let Facebook users include photos or stickers in the comments. The new video comments feature may help Facebook catch up to Snapchat in terms of daily videos viewed on the social media platform.
Businesses

Tesla: Model X Accident Caused By Driver Error, Not Autopilot (computerworld.com) 596

An anonymous reader writes: Tesla has responded to a recent report from a Model X owner claiming their vehicle suddenly accelerated at "maximum speed" by itself, jumped a curb and slammed into the side of a building while his wife was sitting behind the wheel. They said it analyzed vehicle logs, "which confirm that this Model X was operating correctly under manual control and was never in Autopilot or cruise control at the time of the incident or in the minutes before. Data shows that the vehicle was traveling at 6 mph when the accelerator pedal was abruptly increased to 100%. Consistent with the driver's action, the vehicle applied torque and accelerated as instructed. Safety is the top priority at Tesla and we engineer and build our cars with this foremost in mind. We are pleased that the driver is ok and ask our customers to exercise safe behavior when using our vehicles." When will people stop lying about Tesla's Autopilot mode crashing their cars? One Tesla owner recently filed a Lemon Law claim against the company over a high number of quality control issues.
Opera

Opera Adds Power-Saving Mode, Offers 'Up To 50 Percent' Longer Battery Life (arstechnica.com) 42

An anonymous reader writes: Opera Software has added a power-saving mode to its desktop web browser that "can increase the battery life by as much as 50 percent." The company claims optimizations are what has made the battery life increase possible, including "reducing activity from background tabs, adapting page-redrawing frequency, and tuning video-playback parameters." Opera claimed that a laptop running Windows 10 64-bit with the power-saving feature enabled lasts 49 percent longer than one with Chrome put under equal stress. Ad blocking was turned on during the test as well. The feature is not enabled by default, but a blue battery icon will appear next to the browser's address bar whenever the power cable is unplugged from your computer. When the laptop's battery is running low, the browser will suggest turning on power-saving mode, too. Earlier this week, Opera launched a new VPN app for iOS that is free to use and includes unlimited data.
Firefox

Mozilla Launches Test Pilot, A Firefox Add-On For Trying Experimental Features (thenextweb.com) 53

An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla today launched Test Pilot, a program for trying out experimental Firefox features. To try the new functionality Mozilla is offering for its browser, you have to download a Firefox add-on from testpilot.firefox.com and enable an experiment. The main caveat is that experiments are currently only available in English (though Mozilla promises to add more languages "later this year"). Test Pilot was first introduced for Firefox 3.5, but the new program has been revamped since then, featuring three main components: Activity Stream, Tab Center and Universal Search. Activity Stream is designed to help you navigate your browsing history faster, surfacing your top sites along with highlights from your browsing history and bookmarks. Tab Center displays open tabs vertically along the side of your screen. Mozilla says Universal Search "combines the Awesome Bar history with the Firefox Search drop down menu to give you the best recommendations so you can spend less time sifting through search results and more time enjoying the web."
Open Source

Unity 8 And Snaps Are Conquering The Ubuntu Desktop After Ubuntu 16.10 (softpedia.com) 78

prisoninmate writes: Today is the last day of the Ubuntu Online Summit 2016, and the Ubuntu developers discussed the future of the Ubuntu Desktop for Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) and beyond. It looks like Snaps (Snappy) and Unity 8 with Mir are slowly conquering the Ubuntu Desktop, at least according to Canonical's Will Cooke, Ubuntu Desktop Manager. Work has already begun on pushing these new and modern technologies to the Ubuntu Desktop, as Ubuntu 16.04 LTS has just received support for installing Snaps from the Ubuntu Snappy Store. Canonical's Will Cooke has mentioned the fact that the Unity 7 desktop enters its twilight years, which means that it gets fewer features and it's being reduced to only critical and OEM work. This is because Unity 8 desktop is getting all the attention now, and it will become the default desktop session somewhere after Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak).
AI

Self-Driving Features Could Lead To More Sex In Moving Cars, Expert Warns (www.cbc.ca) 268

An anonymous reader writes: According to CBC.ca, "At least one expert is anticipating that, as the so-called 'smart' cars get smarter, there will eventually be an increase in an unusual form of distracted driving: hanky-panky behind the wheel." Barrie Kirk of the Canadian Automated Vehicles Centre of Excellence said, "I am predicting that, once computers are doing the driving, there will be a lot more sex in cars. That's one of several things people will do which will inhibit their ability to respond quickly when the computer says to the human, 'Take over.'" Federal officials, who have been tasked with building a regulatory framework to govern driverless cars, highlighted their concerns in briefing notes compiled for Transport Minister Marc Garneau. "Drivers tend to overestimate the performance of automation and will naturally turn their focus away from the road when they turn on their auto-pilot," said the note. The Tesla autopilot feature has been receiving the most criticism as there have been many videos posted online showing Tesla drivers engaged in questionable practices, including reading a newspaper or brushing their teeth.
Iphone

Intel Wants To Eliminate The Headphone Jack And Replace It With USB-C (9to5mac.com) 382

An anonymous reader writes: With rumors circulating about how Apple may do away with the 3.5 mm headphone jack on its upcoming iPhone 7, Intel has shared a similar desire, citing "industry singling a strong desire to move from analog to digital." Intel believes USB-C is the future audio jack. They believe USB-C has more potential than the 3.5mm audio jack as it allows users to add additional smart features to headphones in the future. For instance, a future pair of headphones could monitor one's pulse or inner-ear temperature for fitness tracking, something that could only be possible if the headphones were connected to a smartphone via a USB-C cable. What's also worth mentioning [quoted from 9to5Mac]: USB-C already supports analog audio transfer through sideband pins simplifying the engineering steps necessary to swap 3.5mm with USB-C in device designs. In the second quarter, Intel should have a finalized USB-C standard for digital audio transfer. Intel does note that the transition from analog to digital will be expensive as the headphones have to include amplifiers and DACs, but scale will offset the early costs over time.
Google

Google Search Will Soon Include Live TV Listings (fortune.com) 36

An anonymous reader writes: Google announced users will soon see live TV listings within their search results. Fortune writes, "Pretty soon, you will be able to Google the name of a television show or movie and see live air times for that content within the search results." The announcement was made at the National Association of Broadcasters conference. "What we're seeing is that more and more, viewers are turning to their phones to find out what to watch, where to watch it and when it's available -- in fact, searches for TV shows and films on mobile have grown more than 55% in the past year alone," Google said in a blog post announcing the new feature. Google Search users will have the option of clicking an "edit provider" link that will allow them to enter their specific cable provider when they search for the name of a TV show or movie. There's no specific date for when the feature will be launching, just that it will be launching "soon."
Android

Google's Android N OS Will Support Pressure-Sensitive Screens (theverge.com) 68

An anonymous reader writes: In the latest Developer Preview 2 of Android N, Google introduced new "Launcher shortcuts" to the beta OS. It allows developers to "define shortcuts which users can expose in the launcher to help them perform actions quicker." It's reminiscent of Apple's "3D Touch" feature found in the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, which can allow for specific parts of an app to be displayed in a pop-up menu when users forcefully press on an icon or other miscellaneous piece of information developed with the feature.

As mentioned in Phandroid's report testing the "setDynamicShortcuts(List)" feature, Google offered four different scenarios where Launcher Shortcuts make sense: Navigating users to a particular location in a mapping app, sending messages to a friend in a communication app, playing the next episode of a TV show in a media app, or loading the last save point in a gaming app.

"Google says that the manufacturers who build Android devices wanted this use case addressed by the OS itself," according to The Verge, so that developers "can code for all Android devices instead of reinventing the pressure-sensitive wheel for each OEM."
Power

Tesla Updates Model S With New Front-End, Air Filtration System, Faster Charging (theverge.com) 123

An anonymous reader writes: The Model S has received several new features and improvements to help it stay relevant with the newer Model X crossover and recently released Model 3 electric vehicles from Tesla. It has a new-look fascia and adaptive LED headlights that hew closely to the design found on the Model X crossover which debuted late last year. In addition to a couple new interior finish choices, the Model S is receiving a version of the Model X's cabin air filtration system as an option, which promises to filter out "99.7 percent of particulate exhaust pollution and effectively all allergens, bacteria and other contaminants from cabin air." The Model S now has a 48-amp charger standard -- up from 40 amps -- which Tesla says will enable faster charging when connected to higher-amp outlets. Tesla's design language is trending toward a grille-less front end, possibly in an effort to squeeze as much aerodynamic efficiency out of the car as possible. What's missing in the update is the rumored 100kWh battery, which would improve the vehicle's range.
Cloud

Toyota Teams With Microsoft On Connected Cars (usatoday.com) 116

An anonymous reader quotes a report from USA TODAY: Toyota announced an enhanced relationship with Microsoft on Monday aimed at delivering "connected car" services to drivers in ways they probably never could have imagined. Already, drivers ask the infotainment system in their cars for restaurant recommendations, but many locations often would require that a driver turn around. But with Toyota Connected, the system might be modified to only recommend restaurants on the highway ahead -- and then only the kinds of food that the driver usually prefers. Road information can be delivered to drivers based on driving patterns -- knowing the routes they usually take. Auto insurance could be priced more accurately because the system could report on a driver's actual miles and routes traveled. Medical-related sensors could also be built into the car, like heartbeat monitors or sensors on the steering wheel. Some of the services could be offered to customers wirelessly by being beamed directly into their cars, but Lobenstein said that customer privacy considerations will be paramount. Toyota Connected hopes to have its first products within a year. Toyota Connected, as it's called, is built on Microsoft's Azure cloud computing platform. Toyota plans to invest $5.5 million in the new venture, even though much of the technology will be based on their current research and development for smart automobiles.
Microsoft

Microsoft Extends Its Windows Hello Login Security Features To Apps and the Web (techcrunch.com) 47

An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch regarding the beloved Windows Hello login security features: Microsoft is bringing to Windows apps (and even the web) some of the convenience and security of being able to use the same tech it uses to keep enterprise laptops safe. The idea here is to let you use the same technology that powers "Windows Hello" -- the login security feature of Windows 10 that supports fingerprint scanners, facial recognition and even iris scanners -- to log into other services, as well. This feature probably wouldn't be all that interesting if it only worked for Windows apps, but the company is also extending it to web apps. For now, this feature apparently only works with Microsoft's own Edge browser, but the company says it is compatible with the FIDO 2.0 standard and can theoretically work with any browser.
GNU is Not Unix

Git 2.8 Officially Released (softpedia.com) 87

prisoninmate quotes a report from Softpedia: Git 2.8 has been released on March 28, and we have to admit that it comes as a huge surprise to us all. Prominent features of Git 2.8 include parallel fetches of submodules, which allows for the inclusion of other Git repositories in a single Git repo when using the "git submodules" command, support for turning off Git's smudge and clean filters, and support for cloning repos through the rsync protocol. The Git for Windows build received a lot of attention in Git 2.8 and it looks like it's now as comfortable to use as it is on the GNU/Linux and Mac OS X platforms. Also, it is now possible to tell Git not to guess your identity, which, instead, forces you to add a user.name and user.email before doing any commits. Check out the the full release notes for the complete list.
Businesses

iPhone 7s May Sport Curved Glass and AMOLED Display (bgr.com) 113

anderzole quotes a report from BGR: With calls for Apple's upcoming iPhone models to be "spectacular," it appears that pundits and those who have been quick to proclaim that we've reached "peak iPhone" have nothing to worry about. While we'll know what type of wild new features the iPhone 7 will incorporate in just about three months, a new report from reputed analyst Ming-Chi Kuo provides us with some interesting insight as to what Apple has planned for 2017 when it releases what will presumably be called the iPhone 7s. According to a research note Kuo provided to investors, Apple is busy working on an iPhone model with curved pieces of glass and an AMOLED display. What's more, the report relays that Apple also has plans to shake up its iPhone lineup with a model sporting a 5.8-inch display. Further, Kuo believes that the bezels on the iPhone 7s will be smaller than they are on Apple's current iPhone lineup.
Technology

Ask Slashdot: How Can We Improve Slashdot? 1839

Hi all. Most of you are already aware that Slashdot was sold by DHI Group last week, and I very much enjoyed answering questions and reading feedback in the comments of that announcement story. There's no doubt that the Slashdot community is one of the most thoughtful, intelligent, and prolific communities on the web.

I wanted to use this opportunity to get a discussion going on how we can improve Slashdot moving forward. I am not talking about a full re-design that will detract from the original spirit of Slashdot, but rather: user experience, bug fixes, and feature improvements that are requested from actual /. users. We appreciated many of your suggestions in the story announcing the sale, and I have taken note of those suggestions. This story will serve as a more master list for feature requests and improvement suggestions.

We welcome any and all suggestions. Some ideas mentioned in the sale story were, in no particular order: Unicode support, direct messaging, increased cap on comment scores, put more weight on firehose voting to determine which stories make the front page, reduced time required between comments, and many more. We'd love a chance to discuss these suggestions and feature improvements and pros and cons here before we bring them back to our team for implementation.
Education

Interview: Ask CEO Anant Agarwal About edX and the Future of Online Education 55

Anant Agarwal is a professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT and the CEO of edX. A massive open online course platform founded by MIT and Harvard, edX offers numerous courses on a wide variety of subjects. As of 2014 edX had more than 4 million students taking more than 500 courses online. The organization has developed open-source software called Open edX that powers edX courses and is freely available online. Mr. Agarwal has agreed to take some time out of his schedule and answer your questions about edX and the future of learning. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post.
Security

Video Do the Risks of BYOD Outweigh the Benefits? (Video) 82

Steve Hasselbach is a Senior Solutions Architect (AKA Marketing Guy -- but he's also a serious techie) for Peak 10, a datacenter company. In his work he deals with his clients' security problems, and often shakes his head at how security unconscious so many businesses are, even after endless publicity about corporate IT security holes costing companies millions of dollars.

He says, "...it doesn’t shock me anymore, but you’d be so shocked and surprised at how noncompliant this country is in terms of businesses around things like healthcare data and all that." In this interview, Steve talks about how (surprise!) the current BYOD trend is making things worse, but isn't necessarily responsible for the worst security holes, and offers benefits that might outweigh the increased security risks it brings.. (Note: The transcript contains material not included in the video.)
Books

Interviews: Ask David Peterson About Inventing Languages 87

samzenpus writes: David J. Peterson is a language creator and author. He created the Dothraki and Valyrian languages for HBO's Game of Thrones, and more recently has created languages for the CW's The 100 and MTV's The Shannara Chronicles. His new book, The Art of Language Invention, details how to create a new language from scratch, and goes over some of the specific choices he made in creating the languages for Game of Thrones and Syfy's Defiance. David has agreed to give us some of his time to answer any questions you may have. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post.
Linux Business

Video GNU/Linux Desktops with No User Knowledge Needed (Video) 85

Joey Amanchukwu is co-founder and CEO of Transforia, a company that leases computers pre-loaded with Red Hat Enterprise Linux -- a distro choice that may have been made at least partly because Joey used to sell for Red Hat.

There have been other companies that tried to sell Linux desktops and laptops on a "don't worry about a thing; we'll administer them for you, no problem" basis. Not a lot (maybe none) of those companies have survived, as far as we know. Will Transforia manage to make it big? Or at least become profitable? We'll see.
Medicine

Video Alfred Poor Talks About Health Wearables at CES (Video) 22

The biggest shift in wearables that Alfred Poor saw at CES was from consumer wearables to wearables designed to serve corporate goals, especially cutting health care costs. He says that when it comes to fitness and other health-related wearables, "consumer is the past and business is the future."
Handhelds

Video Which do You Prefer: Mobile Web Apps or Mobile Websites? (Video) 90

On December 28, 2015, Larry Seltzer wrote an article for Ars Technica provocatively titled (by Ars editors), The App-ocalypse: Can Web standards make mobile apps obsolete? A link to this article was posted on Slashdot, where it provoked a spirited discussion. In this video conversation, we talked to Larry about mobile aps vs. Web standards. Not surprisingly, he had some interesting things to say.
Input Devices

Video Api.ai CEO Ilya Gelfenbeyn Talks About Conversational Voice Interfaces (Video) 32

Api.ai makes an Android voice-controlled utility called Assistant. I have it on my Android phone. It is one of many simiar apps, and I have been trying them a little at a time. Are any of them as good as Siri? Let's just say, "Quality varies."

And Android voice assistants aren't the point of this interview, anyway. It's more about the process of developing interactive, voice-based IO systems. This whole voice/response thing is an area that's going to take off any year now -- and has been in that state for several decades -- but may finally be going somewhere, spurred by intense competition between the many companies working in this field, including Ilya's.
The Media

Video FOSS Force is a FOSS News and Commentary Site (Video) 41

Christine Hall is FOSS Force's founder, publisher, chief editor, and everything else. She started the site about five years ago, but it has only started to attract notice in the last year. Christine brings the cynicism and writing style of a long-time freelance journalist to this tech niche, which makes her site a welcome addition to the Open Source news pantheon. And on the Slashdot front: this is our first video in a while because we have switched video hosting services. We hope you like this host better than the last one. Native HTML 5 at (long) last. Yay!
Science

Interviews: Ask Ray Kurzweil a question 174

Ray Kurzweil is one of the world’s leading authors, inventors, and futurists. Kurzweil was the principal inventor of the first CCD flat-bed scanner, the first omni-font optical character recognition, the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, the first text-to-speech synthesizer, the first music synthesizer capable of recreating the grand piano and other orchestral instruments, and the first commercially marketed large-vocabulary speech recognition. Among Kurzweil’s many honors, he received the 2015 Technical Grammy Award for outstanding achievements in the field of music technology; he is the recipient of the National Medal of Technology, was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, holds twenty honorary Doctorates, and honors from three U.S. presidents. He has given us some of his time to answer any questions you may have. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post.
Media

Video WeMedia's Andrew Nachison Discusses the Future of Online Journalism 17

WeMedia is partly a think tank and partly a consulting firm that advises news organizations on how to deal with the ever-changing world of online journalism. Andrew Nachison cofounded WeMedia with Dale Peskin (who went back to newspaper editing in 2014) and is now the main sparkplug behind WeMedia. Andrew has been around journalism as a reporter, editor, consultant, and academic observer. If you're interested in the future of journalism, this interview with Andrew is a "must watch" (or "must read the transcript") piece. And we'll have another video starring Andrew on Slashdot within the next week, since this one ran long but only covered half of what we wanted to.
Programming

Video Write the Docs Helps Create FLOSS Software Documentation (Video #2) 14

Say hello once again to David Smatlak, who works with Write the Docs -- a group that started some years back as Read the Docs.They have conferences in the U.S.and Europe, and Meetups in over a dozen cities. We ran a conversation with David Wednesday, but couldn't fit all he had to say into one video, so here he is again, with additional info that tags onto Wednesday's video.
Politics

Interviews: Ask Attorney and Author Mike Godwin a Question 83

Mike Godwin worked as the first staff counsel of the EFF and served as general counsel for the Wikimedia Foundation. He has been a contributing editor of Reason magazine and was elected to the Open Source Initiative board in 2011. Mike is probably best known however for coining the internet adage Godwin's Law. He is currently general counsel and director of innovation policy at the R Street Institute. Mike has given us some of his time to answer any questions you may have. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question (and one comparison involving Nazis or Hitler) per post.
Programming

Video Write the Docs Helps Create FLOSS Software Documentation (Video) 27

Say hello to David Smatlak, who works with Write the Docs -- a group that started some years back as Read the Docs.They have conferences in the U.S.and Europe, and Meetups in over a dozen cities. It's a low-key group, open to both people who write documentation and developers who want help writing professeional-quality documentation for their Free/Libre/Open Source Software (FLOSS) projects. Also welcome are those who would like to learn how to write good software documentation, starting with this online tutorial about the art and science of writing technical documentation. (And if you are interested primarily in Linux documentation, you'll want to check the Linux Documentation Project, too.)
The Courts

Video The FSF's Donald Robertson Talks About Secretive Trade Negotiations (Video) 32

Donald Robertson, is the Free Software Foundation (FSF) copyright administrator (and wearer of several other hats as well), so he's the FSF person to turn to when you want to discuss trade agreements, how they are negotiated, and how info on these (typically) secret) goings-on get leaked so that we can see what our negotiators are up to. And don't think, even for a second, that the TPP is the only trade agreement our government is working on, or necessarily the worst. After that, we learn how Don Robertson hooked up with the FSF and got what may be the best job in the world for an attorney who likes (and uses) GNU/Linux. (And for more, check out yesterday's interview with Mr. Robertson.)
The Courts

Video The FSF's Donald Robertson Talks About Copyrights, Patents, and the TPP (Video) 39

We all know (or know about) Richard M. Stallmann, founder of and vociferous spokesman for the Free Software Foundation. But the organization is far from a one-man band, and Donald Robertson, their copyright administrator (and wearer of several other hats as well) is the person to turn to when you want to get into the murky depths of copyright and patent law. He's also somewhat of an expert on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), which the FSF says, '...has a number of truly dangerous provisions that harm software freedom."

What can you do to help stop this trade agreement that has gotten the FSF (and the EFF, among others) up in arms? Don answers that question in the video (and accompanying transcript for those who would rather read than watch). And any unanswered questions will probably be taken care of in a second video interview with Mr. Robertson that we plan to run in the next day or two.
Network

Video High-Security, Open-Source Router is a Hit on Indiegogo (Video) 112

The device is called the Turris Omnia, and its Indiegogo page says it's a "hi-performance & open-source router." Their fundraising goal is $100,000. So far, 1,191 backers have pledged $248,446 (as of the moment this was typed), with 49 days left to go. They've shipped 2,000 pieces so far but, says interviewee Ondej Filip, "95% of them are in the Czech Republic."

This is not only an open-source project, but non-profit as well. A big motive for it is heightened security, as the interview (and transcript) make clear. It's also apparent that the hardware here is overkill for a router; it can run a complete Linux distro, no problem, so it can function as a server, not just as a router. Interested? You might want to put a reservation in soon. This isn't the cheapest router (or even server) out there, but a lot of people obviously think a Turris Omnia, with its crypto security, automatic updates, and server functions would be nice to have.

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