Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Google

Google Thinks the Insurance Industry May Be Ripe For Disruption 238

Posted by Soulskill
from the think-twice-about-googling-your-symptoms dept.
HughPickens.com writes: The insurance industry is a fat target — there's were about $481 billion in premiums in 2013, and agents' commissions of about $50 billion. Now Conor Dougherty writes in the NYT that the boring but lucrative trade has been attracting big names like Google, which has formed a partnership with Comparenow, an American auto insurance comparison site that will give Google access to insurers in Comparenow's network. "A lot of people are waking up to the fact that it's a massive industry, it's old-fashioned, they still use human agents and the commissions are pretty big," says Jennifer Fitzgerald. It may seem like an odd match for Google, whose projects include driverless cars, delivery drones and a pill to detect cancer, but the key to insurance is having lots of data about people's backgrounds and habits, which is perhaps the company's greatest strength. "They have a ton of data on where people drive, how people drive," says Jon McNeill. "It's the holy grail of being able to price auto insurance correctly."

People in the industry and Silicon Valley say it is only a matter of time before online agencies attack the armies of intermediaries that are the backbone of the trade, and Google could present formidable competition for other insurance sellers. As many as two-thirds of insurance customers say they would consider purchasing insurance products from organizations other than insurers, including 23 percent who would consider buying from online service providers such as Google and Amazon. Google Compare auto insurance site has already been operating in Britain for two years as a search engine for auto insurance prices.
Science

Science Cannot Prove the Existence of God 755

Posted by Soulskill
from the let's-argue dept.
StartsWithABang writes: This past weekend, Eric Metaxas lit up the world with his bold article in the Wall Street Journal, Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God. As a scientific counterpoint, this article fully addresses three major points of that "case," including what the condition are that we need for life to arise, how rare (or common) are those conditions, and if we don't find life where we expect it, can we learn anything about God at all?
Government

CIA on UFO Sightings: 'It Was Us' 197

Posted by Soulskill
from the tortured-the-aliens-until-they-left dept.
mrflash818 sends word that the CIA has taken the blame for a majority of early UFO sightings. In a tweet, the agency said, "It was us," and linked to a document summarizing their use of U-2 spy planes from 1954-1974 (PDF). "High-altitude testing of the U-2led to an unexpected side effect — a tremendous increase in reports of unidentified flying objects," the CIA wrote in the document, which it wrote in 1998. "In the mid-1950s, most commercial airliners flew at altitudes between 10,000 and 20,000 feet and [many] military aircraftoperated at altitudes below 40,000 feet. Consequently, once U-2s started flying at altitudes above 60,000 feet, air-traffic controllers began receiving increasing numbers of UFO reports." [T]he CIA cross-referenced UFO sightings to U-2 flight logs. "This enabled the investigators to eliminate the majority of the UFO reports," the CIA wrote, "although they could not reveal to the letter writers the true cause of the UFO sightings."
Businesses

Sony Accused of Pirating Music In "The Interview" 180

Posted by timothy
from the such-a-loaded-term dept.
the simurgh writes As the controversy surrounding Sony's handling of its hack, the movie The Interview and its aftermath continues, a singer is claiming that after failing to reach terms with Sony, the company put her music in the movie anyway. Yoon Mi-rae (real name Natasha Shanta Reid) is a U.S.-born hip hop and R&B singer who currently releases music on the Feel Ghood Music label. Sshe and her label claim that her track we learned that the track 'Pay Day' has been used without permission, legal procedure, or contracts.
Blackberry

Review: The BlackBerry Classic Is One of the Best Phones of 2009 132

Posted by samzenpus
from the if-it-aint-broke dept.
Molly McHugh writes When Apple launched the iPhone in 2007, and I owned a BlackBerry Curve. To me, my BlackBerry was close to being the absolute perfect smartphone. Today, BlackBerry revealed the Classic, a phone that is designed to make me—and everyone who owned a BlackBerry before the touchscreen revolution—remember how much we loved them.
Windows

Forbes Blasts Latests Windows 7 Patch as Malware 230

Posted by timothy
from the if-the-president-does-it-is-isn't-illegal dept.
Forbes contributor Jason Evangelho has nothing good to say about a recent Windows 7 patch that's causing a range of trouble for some users. He writes: If you have Windows 7 set to automatically update every Tuesday, it may be to permanently disable that feature. Microsoft has just confirmed that a recent update — specifically KB 3004394 — is causing a range of serious problems and recommends removing it. The first issue that caught my attention, via AMD’s Robert Hallock, is that KB 3004394 blocks the installation or update of graphics drivers such as AMD’s new Catalyst Omega. Nvidia users are also reporting difficulty installing GeForce drivers, though I can’t confirm this personally as my machines are all Windows 8.1. Hallock recommended manually uninstalling the update, advice now echoed officially by Microsoft. More troubles are detailed in the article; on the upside, Microsoft has released a fix.
Linux

Linux 3.18 Released, Lockup Bug Still Present 106

Posted by samzenpus
from the check-it-out dept.
jones_supa writes As anticipated, Linus Torvalds officially released Linux 3.18. The new version is now out there, though that nasty lockup issue has still yet to be resolved. Dave Jones is nearing the end of dissecting the issue, but since it also affects Linux 3.17 and not too many people seem to get hit by the lockups, Linus Torvalds decided to go ahead and do the 3.18 release on schedule. Linus was also concerned that dragging out the 3.18 release would then complicate the Linux 3.19 merge window due to the holidays later this month. Now the Linux 3.19 kernel merge window is open for two weeks of exciting changes.
Crime

Uber Banned In Delhi After Taxi Driver Accused of Rape 180

Posted by samzenpus
from the shutting-it-down dept.
RockDoctor writes BBC News is reporting that a 26-year old Indian woman is alleging rape against a driver for the embattled Uber transport-managing company. In a post on the Uber blog, one "Saad Ahmed" implicitly admits that the driver was a Uber driver, that the lift was arranged through Uber's service, and that the full range of Uber's safety mechanisms had been applied to his employment, and by implication, that Uber accepts some culpability for putting this (alleged) rapist into contact with his (alleged) victim. "Our initial investigations have revealed shortcomings of the private cab company which didn't have GPS installed in its cabs and the staff wasn't verified," Delhi Special Commissioner Deepak Mishra said. But Uber says safety was paramount, and added it had GPS traces of all journeys. "We work with licensed driver-partners to provide a safe transportation option, with layers of safeguards such as driver and vehicle information, and ETA-sharing [estimated time of arrival] to ensure there is accountability and traceability of all trips that occur on the Uber platform," its statement added.
Sony

Sony Pictures Computer Sytems Shut Down After Ransomware Hack 155

Posted by Soulskill
from the try-long-enough-and-you-find-a-soft-target dept.
MojoKid writes: It appears that Sony Pictures has become the victim of a massive ransomware hack, which has resulted in the company basically shutting down its IT infrastructure. According to an unnamed source, every computer in Sony's New York Office, and every Sony Pictures office across the nation, bears an image from the hacker with the headline "Hacked By #GOP" which is then followed by a warning. The hacker, or group, claims to have obtained corporate secrets and has threatened to reveal those secrets if Sony doesn't meet their demands.
Cellphones

Corning Reveals Gorilla Glass 4, Promises No More Broken IPhones 203

Posted by samzenpus
from the go-ahead-and-throw-it dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Corning introduced next-generation Gorilla Glass, which it said is ten times tougher than any competitive cover glass now in the market. The company says that the Gorilla Glass 4 so launched is to address the No.1 problem among the smartphones users- screen breakage due to everyday drops."
Android

Ars Dissects Android's Problems With Big Screens -- Including In Lollipop 103

Posted by timothy
from the point-fifth-world-problems dept.
When it comes to tablets, Google doesn't even follow its own design guidelines." That's the upshot of Ars Technica writer Andew Cunningham's detailed, illustrated look at how Android handles screens much larger than seven inches, going back to the first large Android tablets a few years ago, but including Android 5.0 (Lollipop) on the Nexus 10 and similar sized devices. Cunningham is unimpressed with the use of space for both practical and aesthetic reasons, and says that problems crop up areas that are purely under Google's control, like control panels and default apps, as well as (more understandably) in third party apps. The Nexus 10 took 10-inch tablets back to the "blown-up phone" version of the UI, where buttons and other UI stuff was all put in the center of the screen. This makes using a 10-inch tablet the same as using a 7-inch tablet or a phone, which is good for consistency, but in retrospect it was a big step backward for widescreen tablets. The old interface put everything at the edges of the screen where your thumbs could easily reach them. The new one often requires the pointer finger of one of your hands or some serious thumb-stretching. ... If anything, Lollipop takes another step backward here. You used to be able to swipe down on the left side of the screen to see your notifications and the right side of the screen to see the Quick Settings, and now those two menus have been unified and placed right in the center of the screen. The Nexus 10 is the most comfortable to use if it's lying flat on a table or stand and Lollipop does nothing to help you out there.
Data Storage

Apple Disables Trim Support On 3rd Party SSDs In OS X 327

Posted by timothy
from the paying-more-for-the-exit-row dept.
MojoKid (1002251) writes One of the disadvantages to buying an Apple system is that it generally means less upgrade flexibility than a system from a traditional PC OEM. Over the last few years, Apple has introduced features and adopted standards that made using third-party hardware progressively more difficult. Now, with OS X 10.10 Yosemite, the company has taken another step down the path towards total vendor lock-in and effectively disabled support for third-party SSDs. We say "effectively" because while third-party SSDs will still work, they'll no longer perform the TRIM garbage collection command. Being able to perform TRIM and clean the SSD when it's sitting idle is vital to keeping the drive at maximum performance. Without it, an SSD's real world performance will steadily degrade over time. What Apple did with OS X 10.10 is introduce KEXT (Kernel EXTension) driver signing. KEXT signing means that at boot, the OS checks to ensure that all drivers are approved and enabled by Apple. It's conceptually similar to the device driver checks that Windows performs at boot. However, with OS X, if a third-party SSD is detected, the OS will detect that a non-approved SSD is in use, and Yosemite will refuse to load the appropriate TRIM-enabled driver.

Although the moon is smaller than the earth, it is farther away.

Working...