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We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


+ - Google allows porn on Blogger after backlash->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "In a reversal, Google says that porn will continue to be allowed on its Blogger site.
Google said it has received a big backlash after deciding earlier in the week that bloggers will no longer be able to "publicly share images and video that are sexually explicit or show graphic nudity." The ban was to have taken place on March 23.

Instead, Google said that the company would simply double down on its crackdown of bloggers who use their sites to sell porn.
In July, Google stopped porn from appearing in its online ads that appear on Blogger. And in 2013, Google decided to remove blogs from its Blogger network that contained advertisements for online porn sites.
"We've had a ton of feedback, in particular about the introduction of a retroactive change (some people have had accounts for 10+ years), but also about the negative impact on individuals who post sexually explicit content to express their identities," wrote Jessica Pelegio, Google's social product support manager, in a post on Google product forums. "So rather than implement this change, we've decided to step up enforcement around our existing policy prohibiting commercial porn.""

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+ - Will 3D printed food become as common as the microwave?->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "The “Foodini”—an automated meal-assembly machine that creates homemade meals faster and more efficiently than human hands—is the first product by Natural Machines, Kucsma’s company.

Natural Machines is marketing the Foodini as a 3D food printer. That sort of futuristic branding may scare consumers from the supremely out-there concept. Kucsma’s not worried, though.

“When people first heard about microwaves they didn’t understand the technology, but now 90% of households have microwaves,” she says. “We see the same thing happening with 3D food printing, but on a much faster scale because we adopt technology faster and the technology advances faster.”

In reality, the Foodini isn’t a 3D printer, per se. 3D printers generally run at one speed and handle a single ingredient: plastic. The Foodini is programmed similarly, but offers multiple speeds and works with numerous ingredients at the same time. The box-shaped contraption is approximately 17 inches wide, 18 inches high and clocks in at 33 pounds.

Natural Machines’s first iteration of the Foodini works best for time-consuming projects like pasta, elaborately shaped breads and cookies. Users first select a recipe from the touch screen or send their own to the Internet-connected machine. They then make the individual components of the dish from scratch and put the components into Foodini’s stainless steel ingredient capsules. From there, Foodini whips up dinner.

If the user is making a recipe for ravioli, for instance, the Foodini prints the bottom layer of dough, the filling and the top dough layer in subsequent steps. It reduces a lengthy recipe to two minutes construction time and ensures that no one has to clean a countertop caked with leftover dough and flour."

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+ - Samsung Debuts Ultra-Fast 128GB Universal Flash Storage For Smartphones->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "Digital photos and videos aren't consuming any less space these days, and as 4K recording grows in popularity, so too will our storage front — the company today announced that it's now mass producing the industry's first 128GB ultra-fast embedded memory based on the Universal Flash Storage (UFS) 2.0 standard for tomorrow's flagship handsets.

According to Samsung, its UFS memory hits 19,000 IOPS for random reads, which is 2.7 times faster than eMMC 5.0, the common memory standard in phones today. And for random writes, it hits 14,000 IOPS, which is a whopping 28 times faster than a conventional external memory card. In terms of a real-world impact, Samsung's UFS memory is fast enough to handle 4K Ultra HD video and multitasking functions at the same time."

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+ - Drones cost $28,000 for one arrest-> 2

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "They are sleek, mostly silent converted weapons of war: Drones used by the Border Patrol to scan the skies in the empty deserts of the Southwest to spot illegal immigrants and then, if things work out, have agents arrest them. That's the idea, and the agents who use them say the drones give them a vantage point they never had before.

Flying at 18,000 feet, the drones view the landscape below, lock onto potential suspects crossing the Arizona desert, and agents on the ground move into make the arrests. But it's outrageously expensive: $28,000 for a single arrest."

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+ - Facebook Reveals New Feature That Could Help Prevent Suicides->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "The signs that someone might be contemplating suicide are often missed until it’s too late. Among younger crowds, evidence that a person might need help are often written right on their social media profiles, which is why Facebook and suicide-prevention groups teamed up to release a new feature that could recognize these signs and offer help.

The feature developed by Facebook with Forefront: Innovations in Suicide Prevention, an organization at the University of Washington’s School of Social Work, and other partners was announced at Wednesday’s Compassion Research Day at Facebook’s headquarters.
Here’s how it works, according to a news release from the university:

When someone sees a post that suggests its author might be considering suicide, they can click on a dropdown menu and report the post to Facebook.

That reporting activates a series of responses. The person who flags the post will see a screen with links that allow them to message the potentially suicidal person, contact another Facebook friend for support or connect with a trained professional at a suicide helpline for guidance.

Facebook will then review the reported post. If the poster is thought to be in distress, a series of screens will be launched automatically when that person next logs onto Facebook, with suggestions for getting help. The responses link to a number of positive options, including videos from Now Matters Now, an online program started by Forefront research scientist Ursula Whiteside that uses real-life accounts of people who have struggled with suicidal thoughts to provide research-based coping strategies."

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+ - Patients choose amputation to replace damaged hands with bionics->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "eventeen years after losing the use of his hand in a motorcycle crash, Marcus Kemeter volunteered to have it amputated and replaced with a bionic version.

"It wasn't hard for me to decide to do the operation," said Kemeter, 35, a used-car dealer in Austria. "I couldn't do anything with my hand. The prosthesis doesn't replace a full hand, but I can do a lot of stuff."

Kemeter's artificial hand was made possible by a new medical procedure developed at the Medical University of Vienna, which combines reconstructive surgery with advances in prosthetics and months of training and rehabilitation, according to an article published Wednesday in the Lancet, a British medical journal. The researchers performed the procedure on three Austrian men from 2011 to 2014.

The technique, called bionic reconstruction, offers hope for patients like Kemeter who have brachial plexus injuries, which can result in severe nerve damage and the loss of function in the arms.

The process represents a significant step for patients with brachial plexus injuries, said Levi Hargrove, a researcher in prosthetics at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

"It provides them with an option," he said. "As mechanical prosthesis become more advanced and more functional, this should only improve."

The ultimate success of the procedure won't be known for years and will depend on how often patients use their new hands, said Simon Kay and Daniel Wilks in a Lancet article accompanying the study. Kay is a hand surgeon at the Leeds Teaching Hospital, while Wilks is at The Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne."

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+ - This AI Learned Atari Games Like Humans Do - And Now it Beats Them->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "The Deep Q-network agent, or DQN as the researchers at DeepMind call it, approaches things the way a person might. All it "knows" is that it wants to maximize the score, and by watching the game carefully and observing which actions increase that score, it learns how to play — then how to play better.

Say a shot from an Space Invader is mere pixels away from striking the ship. On its first try the AI may simply allow the game to end. But on another run-through, it may find that by avoiding shots, it gets more chances to fire the ship's gun, destroying enemies and raising the score. DQN even hit on unique strategies, finding safe spots or getting easy points that humans never tried."

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+ - U.S. offers highest-ever reward for Russian hacker->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "The U.S. State Department and FBI on Tuesday announced a $3 million reward for information leading to the arrest or conviction of Russian national Evgeniy Bogachev, the highest bounty U.S. authorities have ever offered in a cyber case.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation also issued a "Wanted" poster for Bogachev, who is charged in the United States with running a computer attack network called GameOver Zeus that allegedly stole more than $100 million from online bank accounts.

Bogachev has been charged by federal authorities in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with conspiracy, computer hacking, wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering in connection with his alleged role as administrator of GameOver Zeus.

He also faces federal bank fraud conspiracy charges in Omaha, Nebraska related to his alleged involvement in an earlier variant of Zeus malware known as "Jabber Zeus.""

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+ - 800,000 Using Were Sent Incorrect Tax Data->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "bout 800,000 taxpayers who enrolled in insurance policies through received erroneous tax information from the government, and were urged on Friday to hold off on filing tax returns until the error could be corrected.

The Obama administration, under heavy pressure from congressional Democrats, also announced that it would give several million people more time to buy health insurance so they could comply with federal law and avoid tax penalties.

The incorrect insurance information is used in computing taxes. Consumers can expect to receive corrected data in the first week of March. With the new data, officials warned, some taxpayers will owe more and some will owe less.

Officials said they did not know why the error had occurred."

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+ - Samsung Takes On Apple Pay By Acquiring Mobile Wallet Startup LoopPay->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "Samsung has promised that it would debut a mobile wallet service this year to compete with Apple AAPL +0.69% Pay, Google GOOGL -0.43% Wallet, and others. Now, it has made it apparent how it will do that: by acquiring the U.S. mobile payments service LoopPay.

The two companies had been rumored in December to be in talks to incorporate LoopPay’s payment technology, which works in far more stores than Apple Pay and Google Wallet, into some Samsung phones. No acquisition had been rumored at the time, but it’s apparent that Samsung is serious about making sure it has a presence in mobile payments–now seen by many companies as a key point of contact with consumers in the mobile age. Samsung’s mobile wallet service is expected to be introduced on the new Galaxy S6 smartphone to be introduced at the Mobile World Congress in early March.

Mobile wallets allow people with certain smartphones such as the last two iPhone generations as well as Android phones to pay for items in retail stores with a wave of their phones instead of having to swipe credit or debit cards. LoopPay’s offering, which includes magnetic induction devices such as a charging case for iPhones and a payment fob for Android phones, allows phones to use existing point-of-sale card readers that read magnetic stripe cards–by far the most common cards used in the U.S. LoopPay says its technology can work in up to 90% of retail stores.

That’s in stark contrast to Apple Pay and Google Wallet, which can be used in only about 220,000 retail outlets with devices able to read a different technology called Near Field Communication. That technology is considered more secure, but it requires merchants to buy new point-of-sale terminals. Those terminals are getting upgraded thanks to an edict from EuroPay, Visa V -0.65% and MasterCard MA +0.24% that requires stores to accept so-called chip-and-PIN cards that are already standard in Europe, or they will be liable for fraudulent card purchases. Although the vast majority of those terminals are expected to include NFC capability, payments experts say that despite the edict, the upgrade cycle could take years."

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+ - Apple wins patent for a virtual reality headset that works with the iPhone Read->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "Apple has yet to officially enter the virtual reality space, but a new patent proves that Apple has been at least thinking about VR.

Apple was just awarded a patent titled "Head-Mounted Display Apparatus for Retaining a Portable Electronic Device with Display," which details a virtual reality headset powered by an iPhone or iPod, according to Apple Insider.

The headset would use the iPhone's screen as the headset's primary display, allowing users to slot their iPhone into the headset's frame when they want to use it for virtual reality. The patent, first filed in 2008, also includes images of a remote that could be used to interact with the device since the iPhone's multitouch display won't be accessible from within the headset."

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+ - Google and Mattel pull the View-Master into virtual reality->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "Mattel’s new View-Master, which launched on Friday, will debut this fall for $29.99. The View-Master uses Google's virtual reality cardboard technology and it works with various smartphones; users must slide in their mobile device, and pair it with a corresponding app.

When it launches, kids will be able to explore various 3D scenes, including the streets of Paris and Alcatraz Island in the San Francisco Bay and the solar system. While some scenes like the Golden Gate Bridge include actual images from the area, others like the dinosaur and solar system scene are enhanced with CGI technology to show, for example, what it's like to fly through the galaxy. There's also the option of buying additional reels (four for $15) for other immersive experiences.

Mattel added that the technology is safe for kids ages 7 and up, and shouldn't cause dizziness, as it often does with some virtual reality headsets on the market. It should be noted, however, that after a few minutes of testing I started to feel queasy myself. The company said the View-Master should only be used for a short period of time, and that it is conducting more testing.

Although the View-Master started off as a toy 75 years ago, it's also been used for other purposes throughout history — long before 3D technology was even in the mainstream. For example, Wadleigh said the View-Master was used during World War II to spot enemy aircraft before U.S. soldiers got onto a plane. The medical industry also used it to understand the intricacies of the body before people underwent surgery."

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+ - LinkedIn restricts API usage->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "LinkedIn is restricting access to most of its application programming interfaces (APIs) to companies that have struck up partnerships with the social networking company.

“Over the past several years, we’ve seen some exciting applications from our developer community. While many delivered value back to our members and LinkedIn, not all have,” wrote Adam Trachtenberg, director of the LinkedIn developer network, explaining in a blog post the change in the company’s API policy.

Starting May 12, LinkedIn will only offer a handful of its APIs for general use, namely those that allow users and companies to post information about themselves on the service. After then, only companies that have enrolled in LinkedIn’s partner program will have API access. Samsung, WeChat, and Evernote have already struck such partnerships.

Currently, the social networking service offers a wide range of APIs, which allow third-party programs to draw content from, and place content into, LinkedIn.

APIs have been seen as an additional channel for businesses to interact with their users and partners. A few companies, however, have recently scaled back access to APIs, which provide the programmatic ability to access a company’s services and data.

Netflix shut its public API channel in November, preferring to channel its user information through a small number of partners. ESPN also disabled public access to its APIs in December.

LinkedIn’s move is evidence of how the business use of APIs are evolving, said John Musser, founder and CEO at API Science, which offers an API performance testing service."

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+ - Holder Considering Forcing Gun Owners To Wear Tracking Bracelets-> 1

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "The Attorney General told a House subcommittee they’re considering “gun-tracking bracelets” as a “common sense” way to reduce gun violence.

Eric Holder said the Obama Administration is looking at several technological innovations to reduce the number of stolen guns being used in crime.

“I think that one of the things that we learned when we were trying to get passed those common sense reforms last year, Vice President Biden and I had a meeting with a group of technology people and we talked about how guns can be made more safe,” he said.

“By making them either through finger print identification, the gun talks to a bracelet or something that you might wear, how guns can be used only by the person who is lawfully in possession of the weapon.”

“It’s those kinds of things that I think we want to try to explore so that we can make sure that people have the ability to enjoy their Second Amendment rights, but at the same time decreasing the misuse of weapons that lead to the kinds of things that we see on a daily basis,” Holder said."

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+ - Samsung Smart TVs forcing ads into video streaming apps-> 1

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "Just days after its TV voice recognition software came under fire for invading privacy, Samsung users are reporting unwanted Pepsi ads appearing while they watch their Smart TVs.

Reports are emerging that Samsung smart TVs have begun inserting short advertisements directly into video streaming apps, with no influence from the third-party app providers.

The news comes just days after Samsung made headlines for another incursion into user's lounge rooms, when it was revealed that its TV voice recognition software is capable of capturing personal information and transmitting it to third parties. The issue was discovered in the fine print of Samsung's voice recognition privacy policy, but the company says it has since changed the policy to "better explain what actually occurs" during this voice capture process.

The latest complaints directed at the South Korean electronics giant relate to a Pepsi advertisement that has reportedly started to appear during content streamed through Smart TV apps from personal media libraries and video streaming services.

The issue has been reported on the Plex streaming service — a brand of media player that allows users to stream their own video from a personal library or hard drive and push it to a smart TV.

One Plex user took to the company's customer forum to complain about the constant intrusion of ads on his Samsung TV.

"I have recently upgraded my Plex Media Server to version 0.9.1101 and every 10-15 minutes whilst watching content on my Samsung TV I get a Pepsi advertisement showing!" user Mike wrote. "At first I thought I was seeing things but no it repeats. Sometimes I can get out of it and go back to my media, others it hangs the app and the TV restarts.""

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It is not for me to attempt to fathom the inscrutable workings of Providence. -- The Earl of Birkenhead