Verizon Is Merging Its Cellphone Tracking Supercookie with AOL's Ad Tracking Network 71

schwit1 writes: ProPublica reports that Verizon is giving a new mission to its controversial hidden identifier that tracks users of mobile devices. Verizon said in a little-noticed announcement that it will soon begin sharing the profiles with AOL's ad network, which in turn monitors users across a large swath of the Internet. That means AOL's ad network will be able to match millions of Internet users to their real-world details gathered by Verizon, including — "your gender, age range and interests." AOL's network is on 40 percent of websites, including on ProPublica.

Chrome AdBlock Joining Acceptable Ads Program (And Sold To Anonymous Company) 338

basscomm writes: Hot on the heels of the formation of the independent board to oversee "acceptable ads", users of the popular Chrome ad blocking extension, AdBlock, got notice that AdBlock is participating in the program, and that acceptable ads are being turned on by default. At the bottom of the announcement, buried in the fine print is word that AdBlock has been sold, but nobody will say to whom.

Google Shows Off 2 New Nexus Phones, a New Pixel, and More 208

Two of the products officially unveiled at Google's much-anticipated (at least much-hyped) release announcement were widely and correctly predicted: a pair of new Nexus phones. The flagship is the all-metal Huawei 6P, with a 5.7" AMOLED display (2,560x1,440), 3GB of RAM, and a Snapdragon 810 chip. The Huawei overshadows the nonetheless respectable second offering, the LG-made Nexus 5X, which makes concessions in the form of less RAM (2GB instead of the 6P's 3), smaller battery (2700mAh, instead of 3450) and a lesser Snapdragon chip inside (808, rather than 810). Both phones, though, come with USB-C and with a big upgrade for a line of phones not generally praised for its cameras: a large-pixel 12.3-megapixel Sony camera sensor. Much less predicted: Google announced a new bearer for the Pixel name, after its line of high-end Chromebooks; today's entrant is a tablet, not running Chrome, and it's running Android rather than Chrome OS. The Pixel C tablet will debut sometime later this year; google touts it as "the first Android tablet built end-to-end by Google." Also on the agenda today, news that Android 6 will start hitting Nexus devices next week.

Facebook Dislike Hype Exploited In Phishing Campaign 54

An anonymous reader writes: A new Facebook scam is quickly spreading across the social network which plays on the announcement of the highly-anticipated 'Dislike' button. A new scamming campaign is now exploiting impatient Facebook users anxiously awaiting the dislike button addition, by tricking them into believing that they can click on a link to gain early access to the feature. Once the unsuspecting victim selects a link, they are led to a malicious website, which enables access to their private Facebook accounts and allows the hackers to share further scam links on their behalf.
The Military

General Atomics To Build Drone Pilot Training Academy In North Dakota 29

An anonymous reader writes: General Atomics Aeronautical Systems plans to build a drone pilot training academy in the Grand Sky Unmanned Aerial Systems park just outside of Grand Forks Air Force Base. From UAS Magazine: "Hoeven made the official announcement about the San Diego-based General Atomics training academy at the Ninth Annual UAS Summit and Expo in Grand Forks, N.D., on Monday. General Atomics signed a 10-year-lease, Hoeven said, and plans to train 60 international flight crews annually. The flight crews will be from countries across the globe including the Netherlands, France and Italy, who come to the academy to fly Predator and Reaper drones, Hoeven said."

A Wikipedia-Style Tree of Life Emerges 72

The Christian Science Monitor reports on the newly announced Open Tree of Life, a freely accessible unified interface to, and archive, of biological taxonomies. In the current version, data from nearly 500 evolutionary timelines has been assembled into a single, searchable view of all known life forms; From the CSM report: Building the computer code and compiling the data took three years, and involved collaborators from Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History, the Web development firm Interrobang, the University of Michigan, the University of Florida, Duke University, and George Washington University. "Many participants on the project contributed hundreds of hours tracking down and cleaning up thousands of trees from the literature, then selecting 484 of them that were used to generate the draft tree of life," said Cody Hinchliff, a scientist from the University of Idaho, in the announcement.

JetBrains Reconsiders Subscription Licensing Changes 51

craigtp writes: On 3rd September, JetBrains, maker of IDEs and other productivity software, announced big changes to the way they sell and license their software. The changes were not well received by certain members of their user base. Within a few days, JetBrains announced that they were listening to the user feedback and that they would reconsider their changes. Today, they've finally announced their revised licensing changes, and while the subscription model remains, some important concessions have been made. Once a user pays for a year's subscription, they'll receive a perpetual fallback license, so they can keep using the software even if the subscription lapses later. They're also providing an option for offline license keys, so the software can run without needing to phone home.

Apple's 16GB IPhone 6S Is a Serious Strategic Mistake 324 writes: Matthew Yglesias writes at Vox that Apple's recent announcement of an entry level iPhone 6S is a serious strategic mistake because it contains just 16GB of storage — an amount that was arguably too low even a couple of years back. According to Yglesias, the user experience of an under-equipped iPhone can be quite bad, and the iPhone 6S comes with features — like the ability to shoot ultra-HD video — that are going to fill up a 16GB phone in the blink of an eye. "It's not too hard to figure out what Apple is up to here," writes Yglesias. "Leaving the entry-level unit at 16GB of storage rather than 32GB drives higher profit margins in two ways. One, it reduces the cost of manufacturing the $649 phone, which increases profit margins on sales of the lowest-end model. Second, and arguably more important, it pushes a lot of people who might be happy with a 32GB phone to shell out $749 for the 64GB model."

But this raises the question of what purpose is served by Apple amassing more money anyhow. Apple pays out large (and growing) sums of cash to existing shareholders in the form of dividends and buybacks, but its enormous cash stockpile keeps remorselessly marching up toward $200 billion. "Killing the 16GB phone and replacing it with a 32GB model at the low end would obtain things money can't buy — satisfied customers, positive press coverage, goodwill, a reputation for true commitment to excellence, and a demonstrated focus on the long term. A company in Apple's enviable position ought to be pushing the envelop forward on what's considered an acceptable baseline for outfitting a modern digital device, not squeezing extra pennies out of customers for no real reason."
The Internet

Neocities Becomes the First Major Site To Implement the Distributed Web 51

An anonymous reader writes: HTTP has served us well for a long time, but will we continue to use HTTP forever? Since Brewster Kahle called for a distributed web, more people have been experimenting with what is being called the Permanent Web: Web sites that can be federated instantly, and served from trustless peers. Popular web hosting site Neocities has announced that they are the first major site to implement IPFS, which is the leading distributed web protocol, and they published the announcement using IPFS itself.
Open Source

Node.js v4.0.0 Released 128

New submitter TFlan91 writes: The first merge of the popular Node.js and io.js repositories has been released! From the announcement: "The collaborators of the Node.js project and the members of the Node.js Foundation are proud to offer v4.0.0 for general release. This release represents countless hours of hard work encapsulated in both the Node.js project and the io.js project that are now combined in a single codebase. The Node.js project is now operated by a team of 44 collaborators, 15 of which form its Technical Steering Committee (TSC). Further, over 100 new individuals have been added to the list of people contributing code to core since v0.12.7."

Why the Black Hole Information Paradox Is Such a Problem 172

New submitter TheAlexKnapp writes: Here's a really nice explanation of the Black Hole Information Paradox for those who are unfamiliar with it. The article lays out the basic gist — that right now if you take two black holes, one made from the collapse of one type of star, and the second from the collapse of a different type, you can't tell which is which. Ethan Siegel points out that Hawking's big announcement was really just a small step heading towards a possible solution, and highlights that the paradox highlights the incompleteness of our understanding of some types of physics.

Facebook's Solution To 'One of Education's Biggest Problems' Is a Dashboard 63

theodp writes: Gushing in July that Facebook engineers had solved one of education's biggest problems, Melinda Gates perhaps set up Segway-like expectations for Facebook's education software. And while The Verge sings the praises of what appears to be progress-tracking dashboards that connect students to mostly free 3rd-party lessons — not unlike Khan Academy or even the 50-year-old PLATO system — it's hard to get jazzed based on the screenshots (1, 2, 3) that Facebook provided in a .zip file accompanying its announcement. The "personalized learning plan" dashboards are a joint effort of Facebook and the Meg Whitman-led and backed Summit charter schools. In a nice circle-of-tech-CEO-education-reform-life twist, the first Summit high school opened in a building in Redwood City after students attending the Bill Gates-touted and backed Silicon Valley High Tech High charter there were evicted to make way, and the Gates Foundation is now spending $8M to bring HP CEO Whitman's Summit charter schools — and presumably Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's personalized learning plans — to Seattle children.

"McKinley" Since 1917, Alaska's Highest Peak Is Redesignated "Denali" 389

NPR reports that the Alaskan mountain which has for nearly a century been known officially as Mt. McKinley will revert to the name under which it's been known for a much longer time: Denali. President Obama is to "make a public announcement of the name change in Anchorage Monday, during a three-day visit to Alaska." Interior Secretary Sally Jewell's secretarial order of August 28th declares the name change to be immediately effective, and directs the United States Board on Geographic Names "to immediately implement this name change, including changing the mountain's name in the Board's Geographic Names Information System and notifying all interested parties of the name change."
The Internet

CenturyLink Takes $3B In Subsidies For Building Out Rural Broadband 199

New submitter club77er writes with a link to a DSL Reports article outlining some hefty subsidies (about $3 billion, all told) that CenturyLink has signed up to receive, in exchange for expanding its coverage to areas considered underserved: According to the CenturyLink announcement, the telco will take $500 million a year for six years from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)'s Connect America Fund (CAF). In exchange, it will expand broadband to approximately 1.2 million rural households and businesses in 33 states. While the FCC now defines broadband as 25 Mbps down, these subsidies require that the deployed services be able to provide speeds of at least 10 Mbps down.

A FreeBSD "Spork" With Touches of NeXT and OS X: NeXTBSD 165

There are a lot of open source operating systems out there; being open source, they lend themselves to forks, clones or near clones, and friendly offshoots. There are even services to let you customize, download, and (if you choose) bulk-install your own OS based on common components. Phoronix notes a new project called NeXTBSD that might turn more heads than most new open source OSes, in part because of the developers behind it, and in part because of the positive thoughts many people have toward the aesthetics of NeXTSTEP and Mac OS X. (And while it might be a fork of FreeBSD, the developers would rather call it a spork, instead.) NeXTBSD was announced last week by Jordan Hubbard and Kip Macy at the Bay Area FreeBSD Users Group (BAFUG). NeXTBSD / FreeBSD X is based on the FreeBSD-CURRENT kernel while adding in Mach IPC, Libdispatch, notifyd, asld, launchd, and other components derived from Apple's open-source code for OS X. The basic launchd/notifyd/asld/libdispatch stack atop their "fork" of FreeBSD is working along with other basic components of their new design. You can watch a recording of the announcement as well as a longer introduction linked from Phoronix's story.

Wuala Encrypted Cloud-Storage Service Shuts Down 128

New submitter craigtp writes: Wuala, one of the more trusted cloud-storage services that employed encryption for your files, is shutting down. Users of the service will have until 15th November 2015 to move all of their files off the service before all of their data is deleted. From the announcement: "Customers who have an active prepaid annual subscription will be eligible to receive a refund for any unused subscription fees. Your refund will be calculated based on a termination date effective from today’s date, even though the full service will remain active until 30 September 2015 and your data will be available until 15 November 2015. Refunds will be automatically processed and issued to eligible customers in coming weeks. Some exceptions apply. Please visit for more information."

Ask Slashdot: Best Big Battery Phone? 208

An anonymous reader writes: Samsung's announcement today of the Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6+ was a disappointment to a lot of power users. The phones both use a 3,000 mAh, non-removable battery. This is presumably part of Samsung's quest for thinner and thinner phones, but it's bad news for those who prize function over form — particularly from a phone line that is ostensibly made for power users. So, those of you who have the pulse of the mobile industry: what's my best bet for a high end phone that doesn't compromise on battery life? Are there any devices on the horizon that are likely to have big batteries? I'm also wondering if I should just get a cheap phone to tide me over to the next generation of flagships. My current device is old and doesn't have the fast/quick-charge tech that modern ones do — does that work as advertised?

Google Is Restructuring Under a New Company Called Alphabet 235

Mark Wilson writes: Sundar Pichai is the new CEO of Google as the company undergoes a huge restructuring. Co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are moving to a new company called Google Alphabet which will serve as an umbrella company for Google and its various projects. Google itself is being, in Page's words, "slimmed down" and the change is quite an extraordinary one. Page quotes the original founders' letter that was written 11 years go. It states that "Google is not a conventional company", and today's announcement makes that perfectly clear. There's a lot to take in...Google Alphabet is, essentially, the new face of Google. Page chose to make the announcement in a blog post that went live after the stock markets closed. This is more than just a rebranding, it is a complete shakeup, the scale of which is almost unprecedented.

A Fermilab First: Detecting Oscillating Neutrinos 43

An announcement at last week's American Physical Society's Division of Particles and Fields conference revealed that Fermilab's NOvA experiment has for the first time observed oscillating neutrinos, which have long been predicted but -- as a case even more special than observing neutrinos in general, not an easy task -- never before detected. The research team fired trillions of of muon neutrinos from an accelerator at the Fermilab, outside Chicago. The neutrinos travel 500 miles through Earth's crust to a detector at Ash River, Minnesota. There, scientists were able to filter through millions of cosmic ray strikes and hone in on neutrino interactions. The arriving neutrinos featured some electron neutrinos, suggesting they had oscillated along their path through Earth. "Basically, it shows that we know what we're doing," said Patricia Vahle, associate professor of physics at the College of William & Mary.

Microsoft Open-Sources Windows Bridge For iOS 48

An anonymous reader writes: Previously known as Project Islandwood, Microsoft today released an early version of Windows Bridge for iOS, a set of tools that will allow developers to port iOS apps to Windows. The announcement reads in part: "We're releasing the iOS bridge as an open-source project under the MIT license. Given the ambition of the project, making it easy for iOS developers to build and run apps on Windows, it is important to note that today's release is clearly a work-in-progress — some of the features demonstrated at Build are not yet ready or still in an early state. Regardless, we'd love for the interested and curious to look at the bridge, and compare what we're building with your app's requirements. And, for the really ambitious, we invite you to help us by contributing to the project, as community contributors — with source code, tests, bug reports, or comments. We welcome any and all participation in building this bridge." The source code is available now on Github.