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Submission + - Companies want to insert ads into Unicode

AmiMoJo writes: Food company Nestle has started a petition to get a KitKat emoji into the Unicode standard. They aren't alone, Taco Bell wants a taco emoji added, and Durex suggested adding a condom. While the latter two are at least generic, KitKat is a trademark of Nestle and the "break" image a key part of their marketing. Next year Unicode will include a faceplam emoji (U+1F926) for occasions such as this.

Submission + - Japanese company makes low calorie noodles out of wood

AmiMoJo writes: Omikenshi Co, an Osaka based cloth manufacturer best known for rayon, a fibre made from tree pulp, is expanding into the health food business. Using a similar process, Omikenshi is turning the indigestible cellulose into a pulp that’s mixed with konjac, a yam-like plant grown in Japan. The resulting fibre-rich flour, which the company calls “cell-eat,” contains no gluten, no fat and almost no carbohydrate. It has just 60 calories a kilogram, compared with 3,680 for wheat.

Submission + - Microsoft pulls Windows 10 November Update (1511) ISOs

AmiMoJo writes: When Microsoft released Windows 10 version 1511 earlier this month, the company also updated the installer files it delivers via a free, downloadable media creation tool (MCT). That upgrade option worked as advertised for more than a week. This weekend, however, the new files have been pulled and the media creation tool available for download from that page instead installs the July 2015 (build 10240) release. A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed that they wish people install the older version and get the 1551 update via Windows Update, however the more recent release is still available via an unpublished link.

Submission + - Moroccan solar plant to bring energy to a million people

AmiMoJo writes: A giant plant using energy from the Sun to power a Moroccan city at night will open next month. The solar thermal plant at Ouarzazate will harness the Sun's warmth to melt salt, which will hold its heat to power a steam turbine in the evening. The first phase will generate for three hours after dark; the last stage aims to supply power 20 hours a day. It is part of Morocco's pledge to get 42% of its electricity from renewables by 2020. The plant will eventually generate 580 MW peak and cover an area of 2,500 hectares.

Submission + - Asahi adds fuel cell backup power to vending machines in disaster prone areas

AmiMoJo writes: Japanese beverage company Asahi plans to deploy fuel cell backup power supplies for some of its vending machines located in areas where people gather after disasters. Vending machines in Japan often have a special "disaster mode" where they provide free drinks, lighting, cellular connectivity and even USB power for recharging cell phones. The magnesium-air fuel cell will enable the machine to run for 72 hours without mains electricity, and can also power TVs and computers to help people stay in touch with emergency information and services.

Submission + - Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2015 is an emoji 1

AmiMoJo writes: For the first time ever, the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is a pictograph (that Slashdot is unable to reproduce), officially called the ‘Face with Tears of Joy’ emoji (U+1F602). Oxford University Press have partnered with leading mobile technology business SwiftKey to explore frequency and usage statistics for some of the most popular emoji across the world. Emoji is a Japanese word (pronounced "eh-mo-jee"), originating from Japanese mobile service providers who all had their own unique set before they were standardized in Unicode. Other notable words this year include "ad blocker", "Brexit" (British exit from the EU), lumbersexual and "they (singular)" (pronoun to refer to a person of unspecified sex).

Submission + - UK's coal plants to be phased out within 10 years

AmiMoJo writes: The UK's remaining coal-fired power stations will be shut by 2025, Energy Secretary Amber Rudd has announced, being mostly replaced with gas. Currently, coal provides almost a third (28%) of the UK's electricity. Japanese/European nuclear plants built in the UK are also expected to contribute. The big question is how to ensure gas plants are built to replace it. Only one large plant is under construction today. Another, which secured a subsidy last year, is struggling to find investors. The government cut renewable energy subsidies earlier this year, which led some to question the government's commitment to tackle climate change. "Switching from coal to gas is like an alcoholic switching from two bottles of whisky a day to two bottles of port," said Friends of the Earth.

Submission + - Snowden says it's your duty to use an ad blocker (for security)

AmiMoJo writes: In a long interview about reclaiming your privacy online, ex-NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden states that it's not just a good idea to use ad blocking software, it's your duty:

"Everybody should be running adblock software, if only from a safety perspective. We've seen internet providers like Comcast, AT&T, or whoever it is, insert their own ads into your plaintext http connections. As long as service providers are serving ads with active content that require the use of JavaScript to display, that have some kind of active content like Flash embedded in it, anything that can be a vector for attack in your web browser — you should be actively trying to block these. Because if the service provider is not working to protect the sanctity of the relationship between reader and publisher, you have not just a right but a duty to take every effort to protect yourself in response."

Other recommendations include encrypting your hard drive and using Tor to keep your internet use private.

Submission + - Mozilla Plans to Remove Support for Firefox Complete Themes

AmiMoJo writes: Mozilla's engineers have announced the removal of Firefox complete themes as a way to lighten the browser core and remove a feature they don't see as heavily used any more. "Personas", or lightweight themes that are basically just wallpaper images, will remain. The Firefox community did not respond well to this piece of news, most seeing it as the engineers "chromifying Firefox." The change is part of Mozilla's Great-or-Dead initiative, which plans to simplify the Firefox codebase and remove features that are not popular.

Submission + - Sony to end sales of Betamax tapes next year

AmiMoJo writes: In March 2016 Sony will finally end sales of its Betamax video tapes. The firm revealed on its website that it will also stop shipping the Micro MV cassette, used in video cameras. Sony launched the format in 1975, a year before JVC's rival the VHS cassette — which eventually became the market leader after a long battle between the two brands and their fans. Although many felt Betamax was the superior format, most cite the longer recording length of VHS tapes — three hours versus one — and the cheaper manufacturing costs for VHS machines as the main factors as to why VHS eventually won out.

Submission + - Another large fine for blocking WiFi

AmiMoJo writes: Another company is learning about the fine points of Section 333 of the Communications Act, which prohibits willful interference with any licensed or authorized radio communications. This time, M.C. Dean, who provided the Baltimore Convention Center’s in-house WiFi service, were caught by the FCC sending deauthentication frames to prevent hotspot users maintaining a connection. The complainant alleged that M.C. Dean’s actions were identical to those that had earned Marriott a $600,000 fine only weeks earlier.

Submission + - Apple usurps Oracle as the biggest threat to PC security

AmiMoJo writes: According to data from Secunia, Apple's software for Windows is now the biggest threat to PC security, surpassing previous long term champion Java. Among U.S. users, some 61 percent of computers detected running QuickTime did not have the latest version. With iTunes, 47 percent of the installations were outdated versions. There were 18 vulnerabilities in Apple QuickTime 7 at the time of the study. Oracle has now fallen/risen to 2nd place, followed by Adobe. All three vendors bundle automatic updater utilities with their software, but users seem to be declining new versions. Update fatigue, perhaps?

Submission + - Siri won't answer some questions if you're not subscribed to Apple Music

AmiMoJo writes: A tweet from Tom Conrad has highlighted an issue with Apple's Siri digital assistant. When asked certain questions about music, Siri refuses to answer unless you subscribe to Apple Music. Instead of falling back to a web search for the information, Siri tells the user that it cannot respond due to the lack of a subscription. Apple Music has been the source of music related data for Siri since it launched, but until now did not require a subscription to answer questions.

Leveraging always beats prototyping.