DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! ×
Google

Google Assistant To Be Available On Older Versions of Android Soon (zdnet.com) 29

Matthew Miller, writing for ZDNet: Google has announced that Google Assistant is coming to smartphones running Android 7.0 Nougat and Android 6.0 Marshmallow, starting this week. The Google Assistant will begin rolling out this week to English users in the US, followed by English in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom, as well as German speakers in Germany. Google continue to add more languages in the future.
Microsoft

Cortana Now Reminds You To Do the Things You Promised in Emails (theverge.com) 134

From a report: Microsoft is adding a new feature to Cortana today that will remind you to keep your promises. Suggested reminders lets Cortana remind you when you've promised to do something in an email. Microsoft is using machine learning to highlight phrases in emails where you might promise your boss something, or make a commitment to a friend or family member. The result is a reminder that pops up telling you "don't forget you mentioned this." Cortana's suggested reminders will be available in the US first on Windows 10 PCs, and Microsoft is planning to bring them to iOS and Android in the coming weeks. Microsoft is supporting Outlook.com and Office 365 accounts for these reminders, and other accounts like Gmail will be supported soon. You'll need to connect an Outlook.com or Office 365 account to Cortana to enable the feature, and you'll start receiving reminders once the service detects your promises and commitments.
SuSE

Windows 10 Gets A New Linux: openSUSE (fossbytes.com) 189

An anonymous reader writes: "Running Linux binaries natively on Windows... that sounds awesome indeed," writes Hannes Kuhnemund, the senior product manager for SUSE Linux Enterprise. He's written a blog post describing how to run openSUSE Leap 42.2 and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 SP2 on Windows 10, according to Fossbytes, which reports that currently users have two options -- openSUSE Leap 42.2 and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 SP2. Currently it's Ubuntu that's enabled by default in the Windows Subsystem for Linux, although there's already a project on GitHub that also lets you install Arch Linux. "It's quite unfortunate that Microsoft enabled the wrong Linux (that's my personal opinion) by default within the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL)," writes Kuhnemund, "and it is time to change it to the real stuff.
Opera

Opera Neon Turns Your Web Browser Into a Mini Desktop (engadget.com) 78

Opera today announced it's launching a new browser called Opera Neon. From a report on Engadget:It's a separate "concept" browser that shows where software could go. It's much more visual, with an uncluttered look, tabs and shortcuts as bubbles and a side control bar that largely gets out of your way. However, the real fun starts when you want to juggle multiple sites -- this is more of an intelligent desktop than your usual web client. If you want to have two pages running side by side, it's relatively easy: you drag one of your open tabs to the top of the window, creating a split view much like what you see in Windows or the multi-window modes on mobile devices. Also, Neon acknowledges that your browser can frequently double as a media player. You can listen to tunes in the background, or pop out a video in order to switch websites while you watch. These aren't completely novel concepts all by themselves, but it's rare to see all of them in a browser at the same time.
Businesses

Apple's iPhone Turns 10 (www.bgr.in) 168

An anonymous reader shares a report: "Every once in a while there is a revolutionary product that comes along, that changes everything," that's how Steve Jobs introduced the first iPhone 10 years ago. To think about it, the iPhone did not have anything that anyone associated with a smartphone. On top of that, it was expensive, you could not share files over Bluetooth, it did not support 3G, it did not have an expandable storage slot and you needed iTunes for everything. But despite that, and to the horror of its rivals, everyone wanted one. Veteran journalist Steven Levy spoke with Phil Schiller, VP of Worldwide Marketing at Apple on the occasion.
Businesses

Microsoft Plans Big Reorganization Of Partner and Services Groups Starting Feb 1 (geekwire.com) 34

Microsoft is planning to consolidate many of its partner and services teams in a reorganization, as well as add a new digital team focused on the cloud. From a report: Microsoft confirmed that the shift will take effect Feb. 1, and the goal is to unify teams across its Worldwide Commercial Business group. Microsoft has been working to break down barriers between teams to better serve partners and customers for years, going back to CEO Steve Ballmer's 2013 One Microsoft plan. Microsoft said in a statement that no layoffs will occur as a direct result of the reorganization, which is being announced internally today. Microsoft added that "like all companies, Microsoft reviews its resources and investments on an ongoing basis." As part of the move, Microsoft says it will bring together its enterprise and partner group and public sector, small and mid-market solutions, and partners teams. A new group called Microsoft Digital will push Microsoft's current customers and partners to use the company's cloud programs.
Microsoft

Microsoft Patents A User-Monitoring AI That Improves Search Results (hothardware.com) 68

Slashdot reader MojoKid quotes a HotHardware article about Microsoft's new patent filing for an OS "mediation component": This is Microsoft's all-seeing-eye that monitors all textual input within apps to intelligently decipher what the user is trying to accomplish. All of this information could be gathered from apps like Word, Skype, or even Notepad by the Mediator and processed. So when the user goes to, for example, the Edge web browser to further research a topic, those contextual concepts are automatically fed into a search query.

The search engine (e.g., Bing and Cortana) uses contextual rankers to adjust the ranking of the default suggested queries to produce more relevant [results]. The operating system...tracks all textual data displayed to the user by any application, and then performs clustering to determine the user intent (contextually).

The article argues this feels "creepy and big brother-esque," and while Microsoft talks of defining a "task continuum," suggests the patent's process "would in essence keep track of everything you type and interact with in the OS and stockpile it in real-time to data-dump into Bing."
Microsoft

Microsoft To Disable Policies In Windows 10 Pro With Anniversary Update (ghacks.net) 535

Reader BobSwi writes: More changes in the Windows Anniversary update, due August 2nd, are being discovered. After yesterday's news about Cortana not able to be turned off in the Windows Anniversary update, certain registry entries and group policies have been found to be updated with a note stating that they only apply to Enterprise and Education editions. Win 10 Pro users will no longer be able to turn off policies such as the Microsoft Consumer Experience, Show Windows Tips, Do not display the lock screen, and Disable all apps from the Windows Store.
Mars

NASA And The UAE Will Collaborate On A Journey To Mars (gizmodo.com) 84

An anonymous reader quotes an article from Gizmodo: The United States and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced an agreement Sunday that would allow the two nations to collaborate on matters of space and aeronautics research, including the potential journey to Mars... "NASA is leading an ambitious journey to Mars that includes partnerships with the private sector and many international partners," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. "I am confident this new framework agreement with the UAE Space Agency will help advance this journey."
Bolden recently wrote on his blog that "Every single nation can play a part in our journey to Mars, in our scientific journey of discovery and in the next phase of humanity's development as a spacefaring people." UAE Space Agency Chairman Dr. Khalifa Al Romaithi added today that "we believe that working alongside international partners is the best way to accelerate the development of space technologies and the space sector within the UAE." Vice notes that the UAE has had a small "presence" in outer space for about 30 years, and had been working on becoming the first Arab Islamic country to send an unmanned probe to Mars.
Google

Google Plans To Bring Password-Free Logins To Android Apps By Year-End (techcrunch.com) 109

An anonymous reader shares a report on TechCrunch: Google's plan to eliminate passwords in favor of systems that take into account a combination of signals -- like your typing patterns, your walking patterns, your current location, and more -- will be available to Android developers by year-end, assuming all goes well in testing this year. In an under-the-radar announcement Friday afternoon at the Google I/O developer conference, the head of Google's research unit ATAP (Advanced Technology and Projects) Daniel Kaufman offered a brief update regarding the status of Project Abacus, the name for a system that opts for biometrics over two-factor authentication. With Project Abacus, users would unlock devices or sign into applications based on a cumulative "Trust Score." This score would be calculated using a variety of factors, including your typing patterns, current location, speed and voice patterns, facial recognition, and other things.The Trust API will be available to developers, who can then implement that into their apps. The company says that developers will have the option to adjust the threshold required for a trust score.
Microsoft

Microsoft Urged to Open Source Classic Visual Basic (i-programmer.info) 331

"On the 25th anniversary of classic Visual Basic, return it to its programmers..." reads the plea at UserVoice.com from Sue Gee -- drawing 85 upvotes. "The new Microsoft claims to back open source, why not in this case? There is no need for Microsoft to do any more work on the code base - simply open source it and allow the community to keep it alive."

In an essay at i-programmer.info, Gee shares a video of young Bill Gates building an app with Visual Basic in 1991, and complains that in the 25 years since Microsoft has open sourced .NET Core and the .NET Compiler Platform Roslyn, "but it has explicitly refused to open source VB6." She notes that Friday Visual Basic's program manager announced a "Visual Basic Silver Anniversary Celebratiathon," promising he's reaching out to the VB team members from the last 25 years for a behind-the-scenes retrospective, and adding "this is a party, so feel free to be interactive."

"What the post glosses over is that this history was blighted by the fork in the road that was .NET and that many Visual Basic fans are highly unsatisfied that the programming environment they cherished is lost to them..." writes Gee. "Vote for the proposal not because you want to use VB6 or that you think it is worth having -- Vote for it because a company like Microsoft should not take a language away from its users."
Censorship

The Pirate Bay Now Blocked In Chrome, Firefox, And Safari (torrentfreak.com) 202

An anonymous reader writes: Google Chrome, Firefox and Safari are actively blocking direct access to The Pirate Bay. Kickass Torrents suffered such a similar incident last month, because of the intermediary confirmation screen that appeared every time users navigated away from the site.

The reason why these three browsers block access to The Pirate Bay is unknown, but it could be related to a malvertising campaign that has plagued the site for more than two weeks. Two weeks ago, the malvertising campaign intensified right when season six of Game of Thrones premiered.

Meanwhile, HBO is contacting sites asking them to remove Game of Thrones torrents, and sending thousands of copyright infringement warnings to ISPs, urging them to remind pirates that they can stream HBO content legally after purchasing a subscription to HBO.
Handhelds

Marketers Hunger For Data From Wearables (readwrite.com) 82

An anonymous reader writes:Marketers would love to access information about your daily routines and your precise location, both data sets that would be trivially easy to extract from wearable devices. Those were the two most-requested items in a new survey of marketers, according to a new article at ReadWrite.com. "In the future the data procured from smartwatches might be much more valuable than what is currently available from laptop and mobile users," reports David Curry, raising the possibility that stores might someday use your past Google searches to alert you when they're selling a cheaper product.
Youtube

YouTube To Roll Out 6-Second Ads That You Can't Skip (theverge.com) 279

An anonymous reader writes: YouTube announced on Tuesday that it will be introducing an unskippable, 6-second bumper ads before certain videos. The video juggernaut says that these ads are largely aimed at mobile users. "We like to think of Bumper ads as little haikus of video ads -- and we're excited to see what the creative community will do with them," YouTube's Zach Lupei wrote in a blog post. The Verge reports, "The company justifies the short ads (which cannot be skipped, unlike longer spots) by pointing to research showing that 50 percent of 18 to 49-year-olds turn to mobile as their first option for consuming video -- and keep in mind a ton of that is music."
Sci-Fi

James Cameron Announces Four Sequels to 'Avatar' (egyptindependent.com) 283

An anonymous reader writes: In a surprise appearance at CinemaCon, James Cameron announced plans for "a truly massive cinematic process" -- four new sequels to his 2009 blockbuster Avatar, plus a Disney theme park. "It's going to be a true epic saga," Cameron told the audience, promising that Avatar 2 would be released in Christmas of 2018, followed by three additional sequels, for a total of five Avatar-themed movies. Cameron's original sci-fi blockbuster earned $2.8 billion, though at least one Slashdot user argued that its overall message was that technology is bad, "strange because the movie is among most technically sophisticated ever."
Apple

Slashdot Asks: It's Been a Year Since Apple Watch Release, What's Your Thought On It? 359

In an op-ed, Quartz's Mike Murphy writes that Apple Watch, the Cupertino-based company's first wearable device, hasn't been the success the company was hoping it to be. Apple unveiled the Apple Watch alongside the iPhone 6 at a media conference in September 2014. It wasn't, however, until April 2015 that the company began selling it. The Apple Watch has received a mixed response from people. While some have found the design premium-looking, almost everyone has complained about the battery life. Many have found the health-centric features of Apple Watch useful. though the lack of apps, in general, is a downer for many. Apple, which usually doesn't miss boasting sales number, remains tight-lipped on exactly how many Apple Watch units it has sold. Murphy writes: Every Apple product in the last 15 years or so has been two things: desirable and useful. They've made it easier for people to be creative, listen to a lot of music on the go, communicate with anyone in the world or find out any piece of information wherever they are. The Apple Watch looks good, but from a desirability perspective, some argue that the most interesting thing about it has been the collaborations it has had with Hermes, rather than the watch itself. Apple has always prided itself on 'thinking different', and has stood out by creating differentiating products. But different in the case of the Apple Watch right now just means "weird." Apple probably doesn't want a product where using one gets you referred to as "that guy." Do you own an Apple Watch? If not, are you planning to purchase one? Those who own it, what features do you like in the Apple Watch that you think other watches cannot offer.
Wireless Networking

MIT Demos Wi-Fi That's So High-Tech It Doesn't Need a Password (mic.com) 92

An anonymous reader shares an article on MIC: Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology want to change how we connect to Wi-Fi. To avoid the cumbersome network login process, a team has come up with a way to grant computers access to a Wi-Fi network based on their proximity to a router. Applied practically, that means you could walk into a cafe and your device would automatically connect to a network -- no annoying password necessary. The same could be true for a home network. When your friends come over, they could immediately be granted access to your Wi-Fi. The paper (PDF), sadly, doesn't offer details on the security aspect. Security researchers advise that one should be careful when connecting to a public Wi-Fi. Say you forget to turn off Wi-Fi on your device, and you walk into a cafe. Your phone will automatically establish a connection with this supposed network. If the network is compromised, plenty of devices will be exposed to attack.
Linux

Confirmed: Microsoft and Canonical Partner To Bring Ubuntu To Windows 10 (zdnet.com) 492

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols reports for ZDNet: According to sources at Canonical, Ubuntu Linux's parent company, and Microsoft, you'll soon be able to run Ubuntu on Windows 10. This will be more than just running the Bash shell on Windows 10. After all, thanks to programs such as Cygwin or MSYS utilities, hardcore Unix users have long been able to run the popular Bash command line interface (CLI) on Windows. With this new addition, Ubuntu users will be able to run Ubuntu simultaneously with Windows. This will not be in a virtual machine, but as an integrated part of Windows 10. [...] Microsoft and Canonical will not, however, sources say, be integrating Linux per se into Windows. Instead, Ubuntu will primarily run on a foundation of native Windows libraries. Update: 03/30 16:16 GMT by M : At its developer conference Build 2016, Microsoft on Wednesday confirmed that it is bringing native support for Bash on Windows 10. Scott Hanselman writes: This isn't Bash or Ubuntu running in a VM. This is a real native Bash Linux binary running on Windows itself. It's fast and lightweight and it's the real binaries. This is a genuine Ubuntu image on top of Windows with all the Linux tools I use like awk, sed, grep, vi, etc. It's fast and it's lightweight. The binaries are downloaded by you - using apt-get - just as on Linux, because it is Linux. You can apt-get and download other tools like Ruby, Redis, emacs, and on and on. This is brilliant for developers that use a diverse set of tools like me.
Businesses

Microsoft Finally Ships $8,999 Surface Hub (eweek.com) 109

An anonymous reader quotes a report from eWeek: Surface Hub, originally slated to ship last September and later missing its January 2016 release deadline, is finally being delivered to Microsoft's business customers, announced Brian Hall, general manager of Microsoft Devices Marketing, on Friday. The touch-enabled Windows 10-powered device, available in a 55-inch and a massive 84-inch model, features built-in cameras, a microphone array, Bluetooth, WiFi, motion sensors and near-field communications (NFC). It runs Skype for Business, Office and OneNote, providing an integrated collaboration experience, and at least with the 84-inch model, an expansive canvas for interactive presentations and virtual meetings. With the Surface Hub, Microsoft is making an aggressive push into the conferencing and collaboration market currently dominated by Cisco, Citrix and Polycom. "I couldn't be more proud to announce this milestone for our team, customers, and partners. We can't wait to see what people, teams and businesses will do with Surface Hub," said Hall in a March 25 announcement.
Transportation

Volvo Wants You To Ditch Car Keys For Its New Smartphone App (dailydot.com) 293

An anonymous reader quotes an article on DailyDot: Lending your car to a friend could be as easy as sending a text. That's the future Volvo is imaging with its smartphone app that enables keyless entry for the driver -- and anyone with permission to enter. Announced earlier this year and now prominently on display at the New York International Auto Show, the app does away with key fobs and puts the key right on the user's phone. Using the device's Bluetooth capability, the app can do just about everything that a standard key could do -- from unlocking the doors to popping open the trunk to even starting the engine of the vehicle without turning the ignition. Beyond just convenience for the primary holder, the Volvo app also allows others to take the wheel without requiring a physical key. Users are able to grant digital keys to others, allowing them temporary or ongoing access to the car.

Slashdot Top Deals