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Facebook

Facebook Wants to Skip the Off-Site Links, Host News Content Directly 51 51

The Wall Street Journal, in a report also cited by The Next Web and others, reports that Facebook is to soon begin acting not just as a conduit for news links pasted onto users' timelines (and leading to articles hosted elsewhere) but also as a host for the articles themselves. From the WSJ article: To woo publishers, Facebook is offering to change its traditional revenue-sharing model. In one of the models under consideration, publishers would keep all of the revenue from ads they sell on Facebook-hosted news sites, the people familiar with the matter said. If Facebook sells the advertisement, it would keep roughly 30% of the revenue, as it does in many other cases. Another motivation for Facebook to give up some revenue: It hopes the faster-loading content will encourage users to spend more time on its network. It is unclear what format the ads might take, or if publishers will be able to place or measure the ads they sell within Facebook. It seems likely Facebook would want publishers to use its own advertising-technology products, such as Atlas and LiveRail, as opposed to those offered by rivals such as Google Inc.
Cloud

"Hello Barbie" Listens To Children Via Cloud 163 163

jones_supa writes For a long time we have had toys that talk back to their owners, but a new "smart" Barbie doll's eavesdropping and data-gathering functions have privacy advocates crying foul. Toymaker Mattel bills Hello Barbie as the world's first "interactive doll" due to its ability to record children's playtime conversations and respond to them, once the audio is transmitted over WiFi to a cloud server. In a demo video, a Mattel presenter at the 2015 Toy Fair in New York says the new doll fulfills the top request that Mattel receives from girls: to have a two-way dialogue. "They want to have a conversation with Barbie," she said, adding that the new toy will be "the very first fashion doll that has continuous learning, so that she can have a unique relationship with each girl." Susan Linn, the executive director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, has written a statement in which she says how the product is seriously creepy and creates a host of dangers for children and families. She asks people to join her in a petition under the proposal of Mattel discontinuing the toy.
Transportation

Iowa Wants To Let You Carry Your Driver's License On Your Phone 232 232

An anonymous reader writes: The Iowa Department of Motor Vehicles is busily developing software that will allow users to store the information from their driver's license on their smartphone. It would also add features like a simple barcode to scan for information transfer, and two-factor authentication to access it. "At first thought, the idea seems rife with potential security and privacy issues. It is well known at this point that nothing is unhackable; and if a project is made on a government contracting schedule, the likelihood of a breach is only greater. ... Questions of security, however, must take into account context – and there, it can be argued that our current regimes of physical documents have been an enormous failure. Having every state choose their own approach for issuing IDs has led to patchwork regulations and glaring weak points in the system that criminals have repeatedly taken advantage of. Driver's licenses today are regularly forged, stolen, and compromised – it’s far from a secure situation."

Comment: Re:Wow - Sony are imploding (Score 5, Interesting) 65 65

I always thought that Sony's acquisition of Columbia Pictures and CBS Records were long-term colossal mistakes.

Old Sony: made cool stuff, fought tooth and nail for consumer rights (example: the Betamax case that went to the Supreme Court).
New Sony: all about DRM and lock-in, fights tooth and nail against consumer rights.

I liked the old Sony better.

Comment: B+ fixed the USB problems (Score 3, Interesting) 355 355

What's with all the ACs in this thread, anyway? Yes, the original A/B models had crappy USB, but the A+/B+ have much-improved circuitry, to the point that for most things you'll never need to bother with adding a hub.

I set up a B+ as a Bluetooth audio streaming box, and, while running off a 1000 mA power supply, the USB is stout enough to power a keyboard, mouse, Bluetooth dongle, and a Focusrite USB audio interface, all plugged into the onboard USB ports. That would have never worked on the older model.

Comment: Re:Car alarm symphony; real bells (Score 1) 790 790

That's still around, at least in Russia. I'd say that the Car Alarm Symphony should be Russia's official disaster anthem. A lot of the YouTube videos of the Chelyabinsk meteor and its aftermath featured it as a background soundtrack after the shock wave hit. Then, there's this gem, a wrecked truck of gas cylinders. Each time one blows up, the videographer's car alarm decides to join in. Note the SAM launch at 3:15 or so. There's a dashcam video that shows how it all started, too (with strangely appropriate music on the driver's radio).

Comment: Re:Zenith Space Command remote (Score 1) 790 790

Even the tuning fork version used the stepper-driven tuner. My grandparents had one of those sets, and just jingling your keys or coins was enough to make the TV do random things. Jingle, jingle, *thunk* HEY! *clack* *thunk*

On the other hand, my upstairs neighbor back in those days had a Heathkit with a much more elegant RF-based remote. When you pressed on one of the volume or picture controls, the corresponding knob on the set would rotate. That was seriously high-tech home entertainment back in 1969.

"There is hopeful symbolism in the fact that flags do not wave in a vacuum." --Arthur C. Clarke

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