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Submission + - Prenda Law attorney disbarred (engadget.com)

lactose99 writes: One of the original copyright trolls finally got their comeuppance. From TFA: "John L. Steele, a Chicago lawyer who pled guilty to perjury, fraud and money laundering resulting from alleged "honeypot" schemes, has just been disbarred by an Illinois court." John L. Steele, as you may know, is one of the principals of Prenda Law, a notorious copyright troll who has been featured on /. several times. The article goes on to describe how the Prenda lawyers used honeypot-like tactics to trick people into downloads and then subsequently scammed them for copyright violations.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Screenless, keyboardless, portable, battery powered computer? 9

Wycliffe writes: So I have a travel keyboard that I love. I can carry my OS on a usb flash drive. There are several options for portable battery powered monitors. The only thing I'm missing to have a completely modular laptop is the CPU/MB/RAM. I've thought about buying a small box like a zotac and trying to replace the harddrive with a battery but does anything like this already exist? Or does there exist a good x86/x64 tablet that I can install linux on? I can get a laptop but it seems silly to carry around a laptop with a keyboard when I never use the keyboard. I don't need a long battery life, if I need more than an hour then I can find somewhere to plug it in. Also, are there any systems like this with decent specs? Most stuff I see like the intel compute stick are horribly underpowered compared to a decent laptop.

Submission + - Under The Hood Of Google's TPU2 Machine Learning Clusters (nextplatform.com)

kipperstem77 writes: Google designed the TPU2 specifically to accelerate focused deep learning workloads behind its core consumer-facing software such as search, maps, voice recognition and research projects such as autonomous vehicle training. Our rough translation of Google’s goals for TRC is that Google wants to recruit the research community to find workloads that will scale well with a TPU2 hyper-mesh. Google says the TRC program will start small but expand over time. The rest of us will not be able to directly access a TPU2 until Google’s research outreach finds more general applications and Google offers a TensorFlow hardware instance as infrastructure in its Google Cloud Platform public cloud.

Submission + - Man Sorts Two Metric Tons of LEGO Via Machine Learning 1

adeelarshad82 writes: Lego enthusiast, Jacques Mattheij, ended up winning bids for 4400 pounds on ebay. Mattheij had noticed that unsorted bricks sell for something like €10/kilogram, whereas sets are roughly €40/kg and rare parts go for up to €100/kg. Hence, much of the value of the bricks is in their sorting. If he could reduce the entropy of these bins of unsorted bricks, he could make a tidy profit. Unlike most other people who sort these by hand, Mattheij wrote a software that used a camera paired with a computer running a neural net-based image classifier to sort the pieces. At its core, the system took images from a webcam and fed them to a neural network to do the classification. Given the sheer volume of size, color and orientation, the neural net needed to be "trained" by showing it lots of images, and telling it what those images represent. Mattheij's breakthrough was allowing the machine to effectively train itself, with guidance: Running pieces through allows the system to take its own photos, make a guess, and build on that guess. Here's a video of the system in action.

Submission + - Eastern District of Texas No Longer Appropriate Venue for Most Patent Lawsuits

SlaveToTheGrind writes: In an 8-0 decision this morning, the United States Supreme Court reversed the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals' decision in In re TC Heartland, holding that a corporation's "residence" under the venue statute of the Patent Act refers only to the corporation's state of incorporation.

The practical result of this highly anticipated ruling will be a significant reduction in patent cases that can be filed in the Eastern District of Texas, where nearly 40% of patent lawsuits were filed in 2016. Delaware was not available for comment.

Submission + - Use it or lose it - Tool deletes unused hardware from processor designs!

An anonymous reader writes: General purpose processors can run all applications, but waste resources for any given application since most applications use only a fraction of the hardware. A group of researchers at University of Illinois and University of Minnesota have figured out how to automatically strip away all the gates from a processor hardware design that are useless for an application. The processors produced by the resulting tool are called "bespoke" processors. Such processors only have those gates that an application can ever use and have much lower area and power (less than half) than the original processor. The same approach can be used also to support multiple applications at much lower area and power cost.

Submission + - How Fonts Are Fueling the Culture Wars (backchannel.com)

mirandakatz writes: Typography is having a bit of a moment: Suddenly, tons of people who don't work in design have all sorts of opinions about it, and are taking every opportunity to point out poor font choices and smaller design elements. But they're missing the bigger picture. As Medium designer Ben Hersh writes at Backchannel, typography isn't just catchy visuals: It can also be dangerous. As Hersh writes, "Typography can silently influence: It can signify dangerous ideas, normalize dictatorships, and sever broken nations. In some cases it may be a matter of life and death. And it can do this as powerfully as the words it depicts." Don't believe him? He's got ample visual examples to prove it.

Submission + - The Privacy Threat Of IoT Device Traffic Rate Metadata (helpnetsecurity.com)

Orome1 writes: Even though many IoT devices for smart homes encrypt their traffic, a passive network observer – e.g. an ISP, or a neighborhood WiFi eavesdropper – can infer consumer behavior and sensitive details about users from IoT device-associated traffic rate metadata. A group of researchers from the Computer Science Department of Princeton University have proven this fact by setting up smart home laboratory with a passive network tap, and examining the traffic rates of four IoT smart home devices: a Sense sleep monitor, a Nest Cam Indoor security camera, a WeMo smart outlet, and an Amazon Echo smart speaker. Once an adversary identifies packet streams for a particular device, one or more of the streams are likely to encode device state. Simply plotting send/receive rates of the streams (bytes per second) revealed potentially private user interactions for each device we tested.

Submission + - Scientists Sneak A Peek At How Ladybugs Fold Their Wings (npr.org)

Joe_NoOne writes: With the help of high-speed cameras, CT scanners and some nail-art supplies, scientists in Japan have managed to catch a glimpse of the elaborate way that ladybugs fold their wings to tuck them away.

The research could have implications for everything from aeronautics to umbrellas.

The study, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, explored how ladybugs can have wings strong enough to fly with, but quickly collapsible so they can be tucked out of the way.

Submission + - Beats headphones explode, Apple blames "third party AAA batteries" (theverge.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: A woman was sleeping on a flight from Beijing to Melbourne was wearing a pair of AAA-powered Beats, when “a loud explosion” was heard by other passengers. The woman, whose face, hands and hair were burned, had sought to be reimbursed to replace her headphones and several items of ruined clothing. "Our investigation indicated the issue was caused by a third-party battery," an Apple representative said. "The headphones don't work without batteries, yet nowhere on the headphones — or their packaging — did it specify which brand of batteries should be used," the woman said in a statement.

Submission + - Twitter ditches Do Not Track support (pcworld.com)

Big Hairy Ian writes: Twitter is dumping its support for Do Not Track (DNT), changing how it shares user data with third parties, and holding any web browsing data it collects for a longer duration—all to better aid in ad targeting, of course.

But at the same time, Twitter is giving users more control over what kind of user data can be used for targeted advertising, as well as more transparency about the information it collects about you.

The privacy features are active now, but the new privacy policies that dump DNT, change data sharing policies, and hold your data longer don't come into effect until June 18.

Submission + - Linux 4.10 Kernel Reaches End of Life

prisoninmate writes: From a Softpedia report:

"As it's not an LTS (Long Term Support) branch, the Linux 4.10 kernel series was doomed to reach end of life sooner or later, and it happened this weekend with the release of the Linux kernel 4.10.17 patch, which is a major one changing a total of 103 files, with 981 insertions and 538 deletions. Therefore, users are now urged to move to the Linux 4.11 kernel series. If you're using a GNU/Linux distribution powered by a kernel from the Linux 4.10 series you need to update to version 4.10.17 as soon as it makes its way into the stable repositories. However, please inform your OS vendor that they need to upgrade the kernel packages to the Linux 4.11 series immediately."

Submission + - SSD Drives Vulnerable to Rowhammer-like Attacks That Corrupt User Data (bleepingcomputer.com)

An anonymous reader writes: NAND flash memory chips, the building blocks of solid-state drives (SSDs), include what could be called "programming vulnerabilities" that can be exploited to alter stored data or shorten the SSD's lifespan. According to research published earlier this year, the programming logic powering of MLC NAND flash memory chips (the tech used for the latest generation of SSDs), is vulnerable to at least two types of attacks.

The first is called "program interference," and takes place when an attacker manages to write data with a certain pattern to a target's SSD. Writing this data repeatedly and at high speeds causes errors in the SSD, which then corrupts data stored on nearby cells. This attack is similar to the infamous Rowhammer attack on RAM chips.

The second attack is called "read disturb" and in this scenario, an attacker's exploit code causes the SSD to perform a large number of read operations in a very short time, which causes a phenomenon of "read disturb errors," that alters the SSD ability to read data from nearby cells, even long time after the attack stops.

Submission + - Facebook guidelines leaked: child, animal abuse, self-harm all okay

BarbaraHudson writes: The Guardian has leaked Facebook's guidelines for what is permissible, with some surprises:

Videos of violent deaths, while marked as disturbing, do not always have to be deleted because they can help create awareness of issues such as mental illness.

Some photos of non-sexual physical abuse and bullying of children do not have to be deleted or “actioned” unless there is a sadistic or celebratory element.

Photos of animal abuse can be shared, with only extremely upsetting imagery to be marked as “disturbing”.

Videos of abortions are allowed, as long as there is no nudity.

Facebook will allow people to livestream attempts to self-harm because it “doesn’t want to censor or punish people in distress”.

How not allowing people attempting to commit suicide is "punishing people in distress" is beyond me, especially given the documented risk for copycat suicides. It seems the guidelines are as loose as possible to allow as much sensational material as possible, which of course attracts as many views, and as much revenue, as possible.

The guidelines also admit that Facebook use lowers people's empathy. This helps explain the increase in psychiatric disorders among people who use social media to excess, as well as the rise of mass mentally disturbed behaviour.

“They feel that the issue won’t come back to them and they feel indifferent towards the person they are making the threats about because of the lack of empathy created by communication via devices as opposed to face to face.

Lawyers are going to have a field day.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Is there any way to do forensic analysis of a DDoS without data fr (gizmodo.com)

saintory writes: When a DDoS attack happens to a site, it's obvious from the sites point of view. I'm curious what the internet looks like outside of the site under duress. Is it possible to see a DDoS happening to a site from the outside? Is it possible to get attack vector information, showing the diversity of client types or IPs, without having the actual server logs? Is it possible to access and analyze traffic logs?

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