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Submission + - SPAM: The time of free smartphones is over, now its time for cheap phones

anderson00 writes: The two-year phone contract is almost dead, that’s for sure. Verizon, the #1 service provider in the US, said on Friday it would kill service contracts and the phone subsidies that came with them, winding down a decades-long pricing structure that tied consumers to their phone providers and determined how they paid for their smartphones. Sprint follows Big Red’s the steps as well.

Here’ some bad news. Verizon customers will no longer receive a free phone as long as they sign up a two-year contract, or pay $200 up front for the much-coveted iPhone 6, Galaxy S5 or Galaxy Note 5, which retails between $650 — $750. Beginning Aug. 13, Verizon customers will have to buy their phones outright or pay Verizon a monthly installment fee to rent the device. Though the latter plan can eventually cost a customer even more than $649 for the iPhone 6, it lets users trade up to newer versions. The plans will run month to month.

Sprint also plans to stop offering contract phone plans by the end of 2015, focusing instead on off-contract, monthly plans. New and existing customers using Sprint’s service will now pay full price up front for phones or lease the device, paying it month-by-month over the course of two years, which is the trick that the monthly plans tend to pull to make the phone more affordable, while still having some sort of long-term commitment even without the contract.

Sprint is the last of the major four carriers to start making major moves in this direction. T-Mobile first stopped selling contract plans two years ago, and Verizon joined right now; AT&T still sells contract phone plans, but they're harder to get than they used to be — you have to buy them through AT&T itself.

Removing the two-year restriction does provide for additional flexibility when upgrading smartphone. Anyone who wants the latest and greatest will be able to make the switch without the hassle, because they are not stuck with a plan that makes them miss a generation of new devices. But there is a downside, you will need to pay full retail price for the new device.
So while the sticker shock of paying the full price for a smartphone upfront might catch consumers off guard—and might lead to a temporary sales slump for manufacturers like Apple, Samsung or LG —it’s unlikely to make that much of a difference to a household’s bottom line. There will be noticeable market growth of cheap phones that deliver expectable hardware and software set up, such as: Nexus 5, OnePlus One or Moto G series.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Largest Theft Of Apple Accounts By Malware Reported (rundirectmagazine.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Researchers from Palo Alto and Weiptech networks have found that more than 225,000 Apple accounts have been swiped by a malware from the ‘jailbroken’ phones.

A malware called KeyRider was distributed to the Apple iOS through the jailbreaking tool Cydia and the malware was successful in stealing the certificates, account details, purchase receipts and private keys of the Apple phone users.

Submission + - Wikipedia blocks 381 user accounts for "black hat" editing

jan_jes writes: Wikipedia have announced that they have blocked 381 user accounts for “black hat” editing after weeks of investigation. The reason to block is that the accounts were engaged in undisclosed paid advocacy—the practice of accepting or charging money to promote external interests on Wikipedia without revealing their affiliation, in violation of Wikimedia’s Terms of Use. Every day, volunteer editors make thousands of edits to Wikipedia: they add reliable sources, introduce new topics, expand articles, add images, cover breaking news, fix inaccuracies, and resolve conflicts of interest. In addition to blocking the 381 “sockpuppet” accounts—a term that refers to multiple accounts used in misleading or deceptive ways—the editors deleted 210 articles created by these accounts.

Submission + - Inside China's Homegrown 64-Core ARM Big Iron Chip (theplatform.net)

An anonymous reader writes: Phytium aspires to be a leading-edge processor and ASIC maker in the Chinese IT sector and specifically that it will be working on two classes of ARM-based processors: one aimed at scale-up machines and another one aimed at scale-out machines used in hyperscale and cloud computing. Zhang referred to the former as “mainframe servers” and the latter as “Internet servers,” which is terminology that probably sounds a bit funny to our ears because both are old-fashioned ways of describing scale up and scale out architectures. But you get the idea.

Submission + - NSA Finds New Snowden Emails (vice.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Vice News has been engaged in a FOIA lawsuit against the NSA to obtain "all of the emails Snowden said he sent to agency officials that "raised concerns" about NSA surveillance". As a result of that lawsuit Vice News reports, "Snowden said the emails he wrote about "indefensible [NSA] collection activities" were sent to the NSA's Signals Intelligence (SIGNIT) Directorate Office of Oversight and Compliance, as well as to the Office of General Counsel and the Office of the Comptroller. But the NSA said it could not locate those emails. The only email that came close to what Snowden described, according to the NSA, was one he sent to the Office of General Counsel in which the whistleblower asked a question about NSA legal authorities in training materials. The NSA declassified that email last year. Last week ... a government attorney revealed for the first time that it found three emails Snowden said he sent to the NSA's Oversight and Compliance office, one of the offices that would have handled his complaints. However, those emails did not raise any questions or concerns about NSA surveillance ... "They concerned him doing his job of providing tech support to them, not raising concerns about NSA programs," ..." One is left to puzzle over Snowden's ability to obtain so much but apparently not his emails.

Submission + - ARM Support Comes to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (suse.com)

jrepin writes: SUSE announced partner program expansion to include support for 64-bit ARM server processors. This expansion makes available to partners a version of SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 that allows them to develop, test and deliver products to the market using 64-bit ARM chips. To simplify partner access, SUSE has also implemented support for ARM and AArch64 into its openSUSE Build Service. This allows the community to build packages against real 64-bit ARM hardware and the SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 binaries,

Submission + - MicroxWin Creates Linux DIstribution That Runs Debian/Ubuntu & Android Apps (phoronix.com)

An anonymous reader writes: VolksPC who developed MicroXwin as a lightweight X Window Server has come up with their own Linux distribution. Setting apart VolksPC's distribution from others is that it's based on both Debian and Android and has the capability to run Debian/Ubuntu/Android apps together in a native ARM experience. The implementation doesn't depend on VNC or other similar solutions of the past that have tried to join desktop apps with mobile Android apps. This distribution is also reportedlby compatible with all Android applications. The distribution is expected to begin shipping on an ARM mini-PC stick.

Submission + - CD Projekt RED Considering The Witcher 3 For Linux If SteamOS Takes Off (gamingonlinux.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Followers of the Penguin, Marcin Iwiski, one of the founders of CD Projekt RED, has spoken out about why the developer of The Witcher series and Cyberpunk 2077 has not yet shown any support towards Linux.

Citing an issue deemed a myth by many, especially by Ryan "Icculus" Gordon who took to busting this myth during the Steam Developer Days of 2014, Iwiski believes that if you are going to support Linux, you cannot simply pick one distribution to support. Instead, he feels that CD Projekt RED would have to take to supporting at least five.

"First of all, we have a lot of respect for Steam and we think they are very, very good business guys and good gamer friendly guys and that's really, really important. We like what they are doing and with the Steam Box, if they will be able to deliver a cool console, definitely, we are interested in having a game there.

You know, one of the reasons we have not released The Witcher on Linux is that we most probably have to address five different versions of Linux and this is always terrible to support the quality of the games afterwards. The patches, the updates, and everything. If Steam will deliver a constant Linux environment, call it SteamOS or anything like that, we would love to have our games there because, you know, the more people play our games, the better for us."

- Marcin Iwiski, CD Projekt RED

There you have it. SteamOS will somehow negate having to support five Linux distributions and defeat the beast that is distro fragmentation once and for all.

How do you feel about CD Projekt RED's reasoning? Will SteamOS bring the desired changes? I, personally, can only keep on hoping and ask you kind folks to keep on voting for GOG, sister company to CD Projekt RED and reseller of its games, to finally add Linux support.

Submission + - Google Chrome 33 Removes Option to Fallback to Old New Tab Page

An anonymous reader writes: On Friday, Chrome 33 was shipped out the everyone on the stable channel. Among other things, it removes the developer flag to disable the "Instant Extended API", which powers an updated New Tab page. The new New Tab page receieved a large amount of backlash from users, particularly due to strange behavior when Google wasn't set as the default search engine. It also moves the apps section to a separate page and puts the button to reopen recently closed tabs in the Chrome menu. With the option to disable this change removed, there has been tremendous backlash on Google Chrome's official forum. The official suggestion from Google as well as OMG! Chrome is to try some New Tab page changing extensions, such as Replace New Tab, Modern New Tab Page, or iChrome.

Submission + - Where do you host open source projects (for non-developer users)?

StealthHunter writes: I know that github is popular as is Google code, but where do you host open source projects when your primary user base just wants to read webpages and download software? As in, the average person that doesn't want to figure out how to use svn or navigate wiki pages. Google code used to have "downloads" but those have recently been abandoned and github's norm is an awkward "tarball commit" for releases. Is SourceForge really the only option?

Submission + - slashdot drives away people with beta 2

An anonymous reader writes: For many months now, people have been quietly redirected to slashdot's beta site (beta.slashdot.org). Any negative feedback of the beta is ignored and/or disavowed. The majority of viewers do not like the beta — resulting in major loss of viewership.

Will slashdot alienate existing users of the site and keep pushing the beta OR will it keep the users and boot the beta?

Submission + - Ad blockers: A solution or a problem? (computerworld.com)

bsk_cw writes: It's individual rights vs. the capitalistic system: What do you do about advertising on sites? A lot of users dislike advertising (much of which isn't only an annoyance, but actively slows down their systems) and are offended by tracking software (which pulls and uses private data). So they use ad blockers and other applications. However, if you talk to the site publishers — especially the smaller sites who don't have large corporate entities behind them — ad blockers could, if more widely used, mean a disastrous loss of revenue. When offered an alternative — paying a fee for an ad-free site — publishers say that most users prefer to surf free of charge, but without either ads or fees, how are they supposed to support their content? Computerworld's Rob Mitchell talks to site publishers and the creators of ad blocking applications, and tries to unravel the issue.

Many people are unenthusiastic about their work.