Advertising

Wired To Block Ad-Blocking Users, Offer Subscription (wired.com) 567

AmiMoJo writes: In a blog post Wired has announced that it will begin to block users who block ads on its site: "On an average day, more than 20 percent of the traffic to WIRED.com comes from a reader who is blocking our ads. We know that you come to our site primarily to read our content, but it's important to be clear that advertising is how we keep WIRED going," wrote the editors. The post goes on to offer two options for users blocking ads: whitelist wired.com or subscribe for $1/week.
Businesses

Price Dispute Means 800k Customers Lose TV Channels In Sweden (telecompaper.com) 164

Z00L00K writes: Due to a conflict between the cable operators and the channel providers, 800,000 to 900,000 customers will lose some of the most-viewed TV channels in Sweden, among them Eurosport, Discovery Channel and Animal Planet. Additional customers in Norway will also lose channels. This is caused by a considerable hike in price for the channels from the provider Discovery Networks. However the amount of money involved is still kept secret for negotiation and business reasons. "Telenor Broadcast arm Canal Digital said Discovery Networks has told it that it will withdraw its channels from Canal Digital Sweden and sister company Bredbandsbolaget from 01 February. This follows Discovery's attempts to raise prices and pay for a number of channels that viewers had not chosen. This will affect their approximately 800,000 customers while a new contract is negotiated. Telenor Sweden customers will not able to watch Kanal 5 or the other Discovery channels until a deal is reached." Considering that Sweden has a population of almost 10 million the impact is noticeable.
Social Networks

Why Does Twitter Refuse To Shut Down Donald Trump? (vortex.com) 832

Lauren Weinstein writes: The conclusion appears inescapable. Twitter apparently has voluntarily chosen to 'look the other way' while Donald Trump spews forth a trolling stream of hate and other abuses that would cause any average Twitter user to be terminated in a heartbeat. There's always room to argue the proprietary or desirability of any given social media content terms of service — or the policy precepts through which they are applied. It is also utterly clear that if such rules are not applied to everyone with the same vigor, particularly when there's an appearance of profiting by making exceptions for particular individuals, the moral authority on which those rules are presumably based is decimated, pointless, and becomes a mere fiction. Would you rather Twitter shut down no account ever, apply a sort of white-listing policy, or something in the middle?
Wikipedia

Arnnon Geshuri, Newest Wikimedia Trustee, Forced To Resign 104

New submitter Mdann52 writes: Following an earlier vote of no confidence, it was announced that the recent appointee, Arnnon Geshuri, had stepped down from the board. This was following community criticism into his background. Says the announcement: The Board Governance Committee is working to improve and update our selection processes before we fill the vacancy left by Arnnonâ(TM)s departure. We are sorry for the distress and confusion this has caused to some in our community, and also to Arnnon.
Businesses

Slashdot and SourceForge Sold, Now Under New Management (bizx.info) 1307

kodiaktau writes with a link to today's announcement that DHI Group, Inc. (which you might know better as Dice, the company that bought Slashdot and sister site SourceForge in 2012) today announced that it completed the sale of its Slashdot and SourceForge businesses (together referred to as 'Slashdot Media') to BIZX, LLC in a transaction that closed on January 27, 2016. Financial terms were not disclosed. DHI first announced its plan to sell Slashdot Media in July 2015 as part of its strategy to focus on its core brands, as Slashdot Media no longer fits within the Company's core strategic initiatives. KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc. served as the Company's exclusive financial advisor for the transaction. (FOSS Force has a short article with some more info BIZX and the sale.)
Advertising

Forbes Asks Readers To Disable Adblock, Serves Up Malvertising (engadget.com) 406

Deathlizard writes with a report at Engadget that when this year's "Forbes 30 Under 30" list came out , "it featured a prominent security researcher. Other researchers were pleased to see one of their own getting positive attention, and visited the site in droves to view the list. On arrival, like a growing number of websites, Forbes asked readers to turn off ad blockers in order to view the article. After doing so, visitors were immediately served with pop-under malware, primed to infect their computers, and likely silently steal passwords, personal data and banking information."
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!
AI

BBC Launches Machine-Translated Synthetic Voiceovers (bbc.co.uk) 24

An anonymous reader writes: The BBC News service is trialling a tool which provides synthesized journalist voice-overs in different languages, with translation provided by unspecified established online translation services. Although the simulated speech in the BBC video betrays itself with the characteristic staccato flow most associated with Stephen Hawking, the result is above average in terms of natural-sounding speech. However, journalists still need to clean up the returned translations, particularly as the initial test involves Russian and Japanese, and oriental auto-translations can prove embarrassing.
The Media

Why Is So Much Reported Science Wrong (berkeley.edu) 294

An anonymous reader writes: An article from Berkeley's California Magazine explains some of the reasons science reporting is often at odds with actual science. Quoting: "Where journalism favors neat story arcs, science progresses jerkily, with false starts and misdirections in a long, uneven path to the truth—or at least to scientific consensus. The types of stories that reporters choose to pursue can also be a problem, says Peter Aldhous, [lecturer and reporter]. 'As journalists, we tend to gravitate to the counterintuitive, the surprising, the man-bites-dog story,' he explains. 'In science, that can lead us into highlighting stuff that's less likely to be correct.' If a finding is surprising or anomalous, in other words, there's a good chance that it's wrong.

On the flip side, when good findings do get published, they're often not as earth shattering as a writer might hope. ... So journalists and their editors might spice up a study's findings a bit, stick the caveats at the end, and write an eye-catching, snappy headline—not necessarily with the intent to mislead, but making it that much more likely for readers to misinterpret the results." The article also makes suggestions for both journalists and the scientific community to keep science reporting interesting while being more accurate.

Star Wars Prequels

Reddit Is Banning Users That Post Star Wars 7 Spoilers (softpedia.com) 268

An anonymous reader writes: A few naughty users have started spamming Reddit with Star Wars 7 spoilers, but also hoaxes. Some known Star Wars fans with Reddit accounts were even bombarded with PMs about the upcoming film, with trolls trying to ruin the movie before they saw it. As a result, Reddit is now banning any user that posts Star Wars 7 spoilers. The movie officially launches tomorrow; do you plan to see it? Do you care about spoilers?
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.
Businesses

GunTV Aims To Premier 24-Hour Shopping Channel For Firearms 633

HughPickens.com writes: Mike McPhate reports in the NY Times that two home shopping industry veterans, Valerie Castle and Doug Bornstein, are set to premier GunTV, a new 24-Hour shopping channel for guns, that aims to take the QVC approach of peppy hosts pitching "a vast array of firearms," as well as related items like bullets, holsters and two-way radios. The new cable channel hopes to help satisfy Americans' insatiable appetite for firearms. The channel's forthcoming debut might seem remarkably ill-timed, given recent shootings at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs and at a social services center in San Bernardino, California but gun sales have been rising for years, with nearly 21 million background checks performed in 2014, and they appear on track to a new record this year. The boom has lately been helped by a drumbeat of mass shootings, whose attendant anxiety has only driven more people into the gun store. The proposed schedule of programming allots an eight-minute segment each hour to safety public service announcements in between proposed segments on topics like women's concealed weapon's apparel, big-game hunting and camping. Buying a Glock on GunTV won't be quite be like ordering a pizza. When a firearm is purchased, a distributor will send it to a retailer near the buyer, where it has to be picked up in person and a federal background check performed. "We saw an opportunity in filling a need, not creating one," says Castle. "The vast majority of people who own and use guns in this country, whether it's home protection, recreation or hunting, are responsible . I don't really know that it's going to put more guns on the streets."
Crime

Phishing Blast Uses Dropbox To Target Hong Kong Journalists (csoonline.com) 12

itwbennett writes: Researchers at FireEye have disclosed an ongoing Phishing campaign targeting pro-democracy media organizations in Hong Kong that's using Dropbox storage services as a command and control (C2) hub, writes CSO's Steve Ragan. 'The attacks are using basic emails trapped with documents that deliver a malware payload called LowBall,' says Ragan. 'LowBall is a basic backdoor that uses a legitimate Dropbox storage account to act as a C2.'
The Media

Montana Newspaper Plans To Out Anonymous Commenters Retroactively (washingtonpost.com) 246

HughPickens.com writes: Eugene Volokh reports at the Washington Post that in a stunning policy shift, The Montana Standard, a daily newspaper in Butte, Montana, has decided to replace commenters' pseudonyms with their real names. "The kicker here is that the change is retroactive," writes Paul Alan Levy. "Apparently unwilling to part with the wealth of comments that are already posted on its web site under the old policy, but also, apparently, unwilling to configure its software so that comments posted before the new policy is implemented remain under the chosen screen names, the Standard announces that past comments will suddenly appear using the users' real names unless users contact the paper no later than December 26 to ask that their comments be removed." In a November 12 editorial outlining the new real-name policy, the newspaper said, "We have encountered consistent difficulty with posts that exceed the bounds of civil discourse — as have many sites where comments from anonymous posters are allowed."

The paper's new policy has proven controversial among readers. "This is the end of open and honest comments on this site," wrote one user, who goes by the name BGF. "It is easy to put your name to your comments if you are retired. But it is another thing altogether if you have to worry about upsetting your peers and bosses at work." The newspaper editor, David McCumber, says he has extensively investigated the feasibility of configuring the newspaper's software to keep comments posted before the new policy is implemented under the chosen screen names. He says he was told by his content-management software experts that such a configuration is impossible. "Based on that, I am trying to do what is most equitable to all of our readers," says McCumber. "When a relatively small city is at the center of your market, just about everybody commented about is known, and the anonymous comments sting."

Advertising

Axel Springer Goes After iOS 9 Ad Blockers In New Legal Battlle (techcrunch.com) 223

An anonymous reader writes: Germany's Axel Springer, owner of newspapers like Bild and Die Welt, is pursuing legal action against the developers of Blockr, an ad blocker for iOS 9. Techcrunch reports: "In October, Axel Springer forced visitors to Bild to turn off their ad blockers or pay a monthly fee to continue using the site. Earlier this month, the publisher reported the success of this measure, saying that the proportion of readers using ad blockers dropped from 23% to the single digits when faced with the choice to turn off the software or pay. 'The results are beyond our expectations,' said Springer chief exec Mathias Döpfner at the time. 'Over two-thirds of the users concerned switched off their adblocker.' He also noted that the Bild.de website received an additional 3 million visits from users who could now see the ads in the first two weeks of the experiment going live."
Databases

And the Pulitzer Prize For SQL Reporting Goes To... (padjo.org) 27

theodp writes: Over at the Stanford Computational Journalism Lab, Dan Nguyen's Exploring the Wall Street Journal's Pulitzer-Winning Medicare Investigation with SQL is a pretty epic post on how one can use SQL to learn about Medicare data and controversial practices in Medicare billing, giving the reader a better appreciation for what was involved in the WSJ's Medicare Unmasked data investigation. So, how long until a journalist wins a Pulitzer for SQL reporting? And for all you amateur and professional Data Scientists, what data would you want to SELECT if you were a Pulitzer-seeking reporter?
Security

Investigation Reveals How Easy It Is To Hijack a Science Journal Website (sciencemag.org) 18

sciencehabit writes: With 20,000 journal websites producing millions of articles — and billions of dollars — it was probably inevitable that online criminals would take notice. An investigation by Science magazine finds that an old exploit is being used on academic publishers: domain snatching and website spoofing. The trick is to find the tiny number of journals whose domain registration has lapsed at any given time. But how do they track their prey? Science correspondent and grey-hat hacker John Bohannon (the same reporter who submitted hundreds of computer-generated fake scientific papers in a journal sting) proposes a method: Scrape the journal data from Web of Science (curated by Thomson Reuters) and run WHOIS queries on their URLs to generate an automatic hijack schedule.

He found 24 journals indexed by Thomson Reuters whose domains were snatched over the past year. Most are under construction or for sale, but 2 of them now host fake journals and ask for real money. And to prove his point, Bohannon snatched a journal domain himself and Rickrolled it. (It now hosts an xkcd cartoon and a link to the real journal.) Science is providing the article describing the investigation free of charge, as well as all the data and code. You can hijack a journal yourself, if you're so inclined: An IPython Notebook shows how to scrape Web of Science and automate WHOIS queries to find a victim. Science hopes that you return the domains to the real publishers after you snatch them.

The Media

Reuters Bans RAW Photo Format (petapixel.com) 206

grcumb writes: Reuters is the latest agency to join the ranks of the technically clueless who think that ethical problems can be solved using technical means. They recently issued a circular to their contributors, stating in part: "In future, please don't send photos to Reuters that were processed from RAW or CR2 files. If you want to shoot raw images that's fine, just take JPEGs at the same time. Only send us the photos that were originally JPEGs, with minimal processing...." The problem they claim to be addressing is doctored images, but they don't explain how they plan to ensure that the JPEGs weren't simply exported from RAW files with their EXIF data altered, or heck, just altered as JPEG. They also assert that getting JPEG files straight from the camera is quicker, which is fair enough. Lots of professionals shoot with RAW+JPEG at newsworthy events. They can send the JPEGs off quickly to meet the first deadline, then process the RAW files at leisure for higher quality publications.
The Media

"Fallout 4" Release Raises Questions About Reviews of Buggy Games (kotaku.com) 367

RogueyWon writes: Fallout 4, the latest instalment in the long-running video-game series and one of the most hyped titles of the year, was released on 10 November. The game has generally been reviewing well, currently holding a Metacritic score of 89. However, a number of reviewers have noted the very large number of bugs present in all versions of the game and have, in some cases, reflected on the difficulty that these pose for reviewers, despite still awarding positive overall write-ups. Can it be ethical to recommend a product to consumers on the basis of its strengths, despite knowing that it contains serious faults?
Canada

Muzzled Canadian Scientists Can Now Speak Freely With Public (thestar.com) 197

Layzej writes: Over the last 10 years, policies were put in place to prevent Canadian scientists from freely discussing taxpayer-funded science with the public. "media relations contacts" were enlisted to monitor and record interactions with the press. Interviews and often the questions to be asked were vetted ahead of time, and responses given by scientists frequently monitored or prohibited. Nature, one of the world's top science journals, called the policy a "Byzantine approach to the press, prioritizing message control and showing little understanding of the importance of the free flow of scientific knowledge."

The new government in Canada is lifting these restrictions. Scientists at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans were told Thursday they can now speak to the media. In a statement on Friday afternoon, Navdeep Bains, Canada's new minister of innovation, science and economic development said "Our government values science and will treat scientists with respect. This is why government scientists and experts will be able to speak freely about their work to the media and the public."

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