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Television

Netflix CEO Says Blocking Proxy Services Is Maturation of Internet TV (mobilesyrup.com) 191

An anonymous reader writes: During a recent round table discussion, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings commented on the company's controversial move to begin blocking the use of proxy VPN/DNS services. "We have the obligation to respect the content rights that we buy; it's just a simple fairness thing. Someone else has paid for the rights in Germany, so we should respect that, just as we would expect the same in return," he said. "The basic thing is if we license a movie here [the U.S.], and then another network licenses it in Germany, then we don't have the rights to display it in Germany. That's why we have to enforce those VPN rules, just like Amazon Prime Instant Video and others do as well. Think of it as the maturation of Internet TV."

Submission + - Small asteroid burns up over Atlantic Ocean

The Bad Astronomer writes: On Feb. 6, an asteroid roughly 6 meters across burned up over the Atlantic Ocean, exploding like a 10 kiloton bomb. Although this was the largest event since the Chelyabinsk superbolide in 2013 (which injured 1000+ people), there were no witnesses. It happened 1000 km off the coast of Brazil, and was reported by the military, though it's unclear how they detected it.

Comment Re:And with laws like the DMCA you can be sued for (Score 4, Informative) 406

Here's law verbatim

(a)Offense.—Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section whoever—

  • (1) intentionally accesses without authorization a facility through which an electronic communication service is provided; or
  • (2) intentionally exceeds an authorization to access that facility;

and thereby obtains, alters, or prevents authorized access to a wire or electronic communication while it is in electronic storage in such system shall be punished as provided in subsection (b) of this section.

In other words, if something is preventing you from accessing content, bypassing it is a violation. Blocking ads itself isn't a violation, but blocking something that hides content unless you turn off ad blocking is.

AI

What AI Experts Think About the Existential Risk of AI 421

DaveS7 writes: There's been no shortage of high profile people weighing in on the subject of AI lately. We've heard warnings from Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Stephen Hawking while Woz seems to have a more ambivalent opinion on the subject. The Epoch Times has compiled a list of academics in the field of AI research who are offering their own opinions. From the article: "A 2014 survey conducted by Vincent Müller and Nick Bostrom of 170 of the leading experts in the field found that a full 18 percent believe that if a machine super-intelligence did emerge, it would unleash an 'existential catastrophe' on humanity. A further 13 percent said that advanced AI would be a net negative for humans, and only a slight majority said it would be a net positive."
Education

Google and Gates-Backed Khan Academy Introduces "Grit"-Based Classroom Funding 119

theodp writes: Their intentions are no doubt good, but some will be troubled by Google and Khan Academy's recently-concluded LearnStorm initiative, which pitted kids-against-kids, schools-against-schools, and cities-against-cities in a 3-month learning challenge for prizes based not only on students' mastery of math skills on Khan Academy, but also their perceived 'hustle' (aka 'grit'). "Points are earned by mastering math skills and also for taking on challenging new concepts and persevering," explained a Khan Academy FAQ. A blog entry further explained, "They've earned points and prizes not only for mastering math skills but also for showing 'hustle,' a metric we created to measure grit, perseverance, and growth. They competed over 200,000 hours of learning and 13.6 million standards-aligned math problems. In addition, thanks to the generosity of Google.org, DonorsChoose.org, and Comcast's Internet Essentials, 34 underserved schools unlocked new devices for their classrooms and free home internet service for eligible families, increasing student access to online learning tools like Khan Academy." Apparently funded by a $2 million Google grant, the Google, Khan Academy, and DonorsChoose grit-based classroom funding comes on the heels of the same organizations' gender-based classroom funding initiative. Supported by some of the world's wealthiest individuals and corporations, Khan Academy's Board members include a Google Board member (Diane Green), spouse of a Google Board member (Ann Doerr), and the Managing Partner of Bill Gates' bgC3 (Larry Cohen); former Board members include Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt.
Windows

Microsoft Reveals Windows 10 Will Be a Free Upgrade 570

mpicpp was one of many to point out this bit of news about Windows 10."Microsoft just took another big step toward the release of Windows 10 and revealed it will be free for many current Windows users. The company unveiled the Windows 10 consumer preview on Wednesday, showcasing some of the new features in the latest version of the operating system that powers the vast majority of the world's desktop PCs. The developer preview has been available since Microsoft first announced Windows 10 in the fall, but it was buggy, limited in scope and very light on new features. Importantly, Windows 10 will be free for existing Windows users running versions of Windows back to Windows 7. That includes Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and Windows Phone. Microsoft specified it would only be free for the first year, indicating Windows would be software that users subscribe to, rather than buy outright. Microsoft Corporate Vice President of the Operating Systems Group Joe Belfiore showed off some of the new features in Windows 10. While Microsoft had already announced it would bring back the much-missed Start Menu, Belfiore revealed it would also have a full-screen mode that includes more of the Windows 8 Start screen. He said Windows machines would go back and forth between to two menus in a way that wouldn't confuse people. Belfiore also showed a new notification center for Windows, which puts a user's notifications in an Action Center menu that can appear along the right side, similar to how notifications work in Apple OS X. Microsoft Executive Vice President of Operating Systems Terry Myerson revealed that 1.7 million people had downloaded the Windows 10 developer preview, giving Microsoft over 800,000 individual piece of feedback. Myerson explained that Windows 10 has several main intents: the give users a mobility of experience from device to device, instill a sense of trust in users, and provide the most natural ways to interact with devices." More details are available directly from Microsoft.
Earth

Hundreds of Thousands Turn Out For People's Climate March In New York City 200

mdsolar writes with an update on the People's Climate March. More than 400,000 people turned out for the People's Climate March in New York City on Sunday, just days before many of the world's leaders are expected to debate environmental action at the United Nations climate summit. Early reports from event organizers are hailing the turnout as the largest climate march in history, far bigger than the Forward on Climate rally held in Washington, D.C., last year. High-profile environmentalists including Bill McKibben, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jane Goodall and Vandana Shiva marched alongside policymakers such as Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.). U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and former Vice President Al Gore were also there, and more than 550 buses carried in people from around the country.

Comment Goal Post: Mysticism (Score 5, Insightful) 285

The machine's designers must not be able to explain how their original code led to this new program.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. I have severe problem with this. This is like looking at obscurity and declaring it a soul. The measure of intelligence is that we can't understand it? Intelligence through obfuscation? There should be no way for a designer to not be able to figure out why their machine produced what it did given enough debugging.

Windows

Windows 9 To Win Over Windows 7 Users, Disables Start Screen For Desktop 681

DroidJason1 writes One of Microsoft's main goals with Windows 9, the next major version of Windows, is to win over Windows 7 hold outs. The operating system will look and work differently based on hardware type. Microsoft is looking to showcase the desktop for desktop and laptop users, while two-in-one devices like the Surface Pro or Lenovo Yoga will support switching between the Metro interface and the classic desktop interface. The new desktop will allow Modern UI apps to run in windowed mode, and have Modern UI apps pinned to the Start Menu instead of a Start Screen. There will also be a mini-start menu. Microsoft is looking to undo the usability mistakes it made with Windows 8 for those who are not on a touch device. WIndows 9 is expected around spring of 2015.
United Kingdom

Julian Assange Plans Modeling Debut At London Fashion Show 173

An anonymous reader writes with news about a possible new direction for Julian Assange. Julian Assange is expected to make his London Fashion Week debut this September. The Australian WikiLeaks founder will reportedly model for Vivienne Westwood’s son, Ben Westwood, at a fashion show staged at the Ecuadorean Embassy, where he has been seeking refuge for the past two years. He is avoiding extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over claims of sex offences. “Julian’s been in the embassy for two years and it’s important that he doesn’t slip into obscurity,” said Ben Westwood. “I want to highlight Julian Assange’s plight. What happened to him is totally unfair.”
Crime

Chicago Adding Sensors For Public Monitoring 107

An anonymous reader writes "A research project dubbed the 'Array of Things' will add sensors for public monitoring throughout Chicago. The project is being started by a collaborative effort between the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratories. The goal of the project is to build a permanent data collection infrastructure to monitor things that might help government officials, researchers and companies better understand the city environment. Sensors will examine various attributes such as air quality, wind, light, sound heat, precipitation, and of course cell phone data. Eventually the researchers would like to see the sensors exist as a public utility throughout the entire city to help public, private and academic partners learn about the city. Researchers say there is nothing to fear about privacy because the sensors will only count people by observing cellphone traffic. With such assurances from researchers working in a shining example of transparency and democratic freedom like Chicago, what could possible go wrong?"
XBox (Games)

Microsoft Confirms Disconnecting Kinect Gives Devs 10% More GPU Horsepower 174

MojoKid (1002251) writes 'Microsoft confirmed a development rumor that's been swirling around its next-generation console ever since it announced Kinect would become an optional add-on rather than a mandatory boat anchor. Lifting that requirement will give game developers 10 percent additional graphics power to play with and help close the gap between the Xbox One and PS4. The story kicked off when Xbox head Phil Spencer tweeted that June's Xbox One dev kit gave devs access to more GPU bandwidth. Further, another Microsoft representative then confirmed that the performance improvement coming in the next version of the Xbox SDK was the result of making Kinect an optional accessory. No matter how Microsoft may try to spin it, cancelling Kinect isn't just a matter of giving game developers freedom, it's a tacit admission that game developers have no significant projects in play that are expected to meaningfully tap Kinect to deliver a great game experience — and they need those GPU cycles back.' Also on the Xbox capabilities front: Reader BogenDorpher (2008682) writes 'In August of last year, a Microsoft spokesman confirmed that the Xbox One controller will be compatible for PC users sometime in 2014. That time has finally come. Windows gamers can now use the Xbox One controller to play games on their computer. If a game supports a USB gamepad or the Xbox 360 controller, it will also support the Xbox One controller.'

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