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Companies Start Implanting Microchips Into Workers' Bodies ( 178

A Swedish start-up called Epicenter is offering to implant its employees and start-up members with microchips that function as swipe cards, allowing them to open doors, operate equipment or buy food and drinks with a wave of the hand. While these microchips have been available for decades, the technology has never been implanted in humans on such a broad scale. "Epicenter and a handful of other companies are the first to make chip implants broadly available," reports Associated Press. From the report: [A]s with most new technologies, it raises security and privacy issues. Although the chips are biologically safe, the data they generate can show how often employees come to work or what they buy. Unlike company swipe cards or smartphones, which can generate the same data, people cannot easily separate themselves from the chips. Epicenter, which is home to more than 100 companies and roughly 2,000 workers, began implanting workers in January 2015. Now, about 150 workers have the chips. A company based in Belgium also offers its employees such implants, and there are isolated cases around the world in which tech enthusiasts have tried them out in recent years. The small implants use near-field communication technology, or NFC, the same as in contactless credit cards or mobile payments. When activated by a reader a few inches away, a small amount of data flows between the two devices via electromagnetic waves. The implants are "passive," meaning they contain information that other devices can read, but cannot read information themselves. Ben Libberton, a microbiologist at Stockholm's Karolinska Institute, says hackers could conceivably gain huge swaths of information from embedded microchips. The ethical dilemmas will become bigger the more sophisticated the microchips become. Epicenter workers stage monthly events where attendees can receive the implant.

Microsoft Now Offers Patent Troll Defense For Azure Customers ( 31

An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft Azure will now offer customers protection against patent trolling, via Redmond's considerable collection of 10,000 legal patents. The practice of patent trolling has become an industry hazard for startups in the last fifteen years, with companies forming solely for the purpose of exploiting obscure or difficult-to-research patents which may overlap with the IP of startups. As of today, Azure is offering 'uncapped indemnification coverage', including coverage against open-source implementations of entities such as Hadoop, which forms the basis of Azure's HD Insight product.

Apple's Ultra Accessory Connector Dashes Any Hopes of a USB-C iPhone ( 153

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Among all the iPhone 8 concepts and daydreams, my favorite scenario has always been to see Apple replacing its proprietary Lightning connector with the USB-C one that's taken over the entire rest of the smartphone world. Apple is already a strong proponent of USB-C, having moved to it aggressively with the new MacBook Pros in October, but the company also maintains Lightning for its iPhones and iPads -- which creates a lot of headaches for people desiring universal accessories that work with everything inside the Cupertino ecosystem. Alas, after yesterday's revelation of a new Ultra Accessory Connector (UAC), which is intended to ameliorate some of the pain of having both USB-C and Lightning devices, it looks like the dream of a USB-C iPhone will forever remain just that. The UAC connector is going to be used as an intermediary in headphone wires, splitting them in half so that the top part can be universal, and the bottom can be either a Lightning, USB-C, USB-A, or a regular old 3.5mm analog plug. The intent is to restore some of the universality of wired headphones -- which, until not too long ago, all terminated in a 3.5mm connector (or 6.35mm on non-portable hi-fi models designed for at-home listening). With UAC, a headphone manufacturer can issue multiple cable terminations very cheaply, making both the headphones and any integrated electronics, like a digital-to-analog converter or built-in microphone, compatible across devices with different ports. Why this matters with regard to the iPhone's sole remaining port is simple: if Apple was planning to switch its mobile devices to USB-C, it wouldn't have bothered with creating a Made for iPhone standard for UAC. It would have just made the port change.

Woman Built House From the Ground Up Using Nothing But YouTube Tutorials ( 315

schwit1 quotes a report from Digital Trends: In this generation of self-starters and self-made women and men, do-it-yourself isn't just an option, it's a way of life. And if there's not an app for that, chances are there's a YouTube video for it. That was certainly the case for a woman named Cara Brookins, who is living proof that if you're willing to learn, you absolutely can. In 2008, Brookins was in the midst of a family struggle, having left a husband she called "violent and abusive." Looking to make a fresh start for herself, she took the idea of rebuilding quite literally, perhaps using the physical experience of constructing a house as an extension of her emotional and mental journey. Though she had no previous experience in construction or architecture, Brookins found a series of YouTube tutorials on building a home and got to work. Over the course of nine months, Brookins worked tirelessly with the help of her four children to build a new home for themselves. "I had rented this cabin for a Thanksgiving getaway," the mother of four told CBS News. "And driving there, we passed this house that had been ravaged by a tornado. It was this beautiful dream house and it was sort of wide open. You don't often get the opportunity to see the interior workings of a house, but looking at these 2x4s and these nails, it just looked so simple. I thought, "I could put this wall back up if I really tried. Maybe I should just start from scratch.'"

Google Abandons Their Google Hangouts API ( 150

"Once again we're seeing the hazards of developing using a third party service API," writes Slashdot reader BarbaraHudson, reporting that Google "will be discontinuing support for the Google Hangouts API going forward... Google Hangouts is now so insignificant that the cancellation didn't even rate an official blog post. As reported by TechCrunch, "just an updated FAQ and email notification to developers active on the API, forwarded to us by one of these devs." TechCrunch writes: As Google pushes Duo as its consumer video chat app and relegates Hangouts to the enterprise, it's dropping the flexibility to build these kinds of experiences. The email explains... "We understand this will impact developers who have invested in our platform. We have carefully considered this change and believe that it allows us to give our users a more targeted Hangouts desktop video experience going forward."
TechCrunch calls the move "a casualty of Google's fragmented messaging app strategy and the neglect of Hangouts itself." While some apps will continue working -- for example, integration with Slack -- their API's FAQ now ends with a reminder that "Users of apps will see a notice in the call letting them know that the app they're using will no longer work after April 25th."

Comment Who decides? (Score 1, Interesting) 154

Who gets to decide what qualifies as "fake news" vs "real news"? Thus far the bulk of the stories surrounding the subject are largely just the left-leaning mainstream media outlets being butthurt over Trump's win and Bannon giving Breitbart a huge heaping of credibility. This move by the left to censor various news outlets is largely just a response to them getting their comeuppance for their hubris.

In the end let's call this #fakenews trend what it is: an attack on conservative and right-leaning media outlets not already in the fold of what constitutes the "mainstream media". Even if you don't take a news/media company seriously, that doesn't for a second think they should be excluded from the marketplace of ideas. That includes those on the fringe like Infowars, Hell, even The Inquirer has broken some very real and legitimately big stories over the years.

Comment Re:Show me the guilty verdict (Score 2) 404

I have plenty of things I could complain about with Trump too, but with all the media bullshit there is no way my complaint would ever be viewed as valid. Telling a crowd that maybe they can protect their 2nd amendment rights was turned into "Trump claimed Kill Hillary", and Trump satirically saying "maybe Russia can release those emails she deleted" became "Trump claimed he wanted Russia to hack America", and the Russian influence in the DNC and Clinton foundation are ignored, but "Trump loves Putin".

Don't forget the new instance of the media shilling for Hillary with the Trump PTSD/Veteran thing where Trump said troops see bad shit in war and sometimes can't handle the stress and trauma of it, which he implied can be a factor in the far too high suicide rates our veterans have, and thus he suggested they need our help and support. The media immediately turned around and had the gall to frame that as "Trump calls veterans weak". :smh: What a bunch of assholes. Can you say "Yellow Journalism"?

Comment Re:It's about time... (Score 1) 193

Exactly. If anything this might encourage content producers to embed 3rd party advertisements into their videos thereby doing an end-run around Google's policy. Granted this probably violates their Terms of Service, or maybe it doesn't. I don't know. But if it happens it'd just go to show that advertisers are willing to make it happen and Google would lose out two ways: costs from hosting and lost ad revenue they could have been getting by said advertiser.

Google going full-retard with this SJW nonsense means a 3rd party free-speech solution is ripe for the making.


Police Asked Facebook To Deactivate Woman's Account During Deadly Standoff ( 447

An anonymous reader quotes a report from KABC-TV: In the midst of a five-hour standoff that turned deadly, Facebook granted an emergency request from the Baltimore County Police Department to take offline the social media accounts belonging to a woman who wielded a shotgun at officers. Baltimore County Police officers shot and killed Korryn Gaines, 23, after she barricaded herself inside her Randallstown apartment with her 5-year-old son and pointed a shotgun at officers attempting to serve an arrest warrant. Police Chief Jim Johnson said Tuesday that the department made the emergency request to have Gaines' social media accounts suspended after she posted videos online showing the standoff. People who saw the postings, Johnson said, responded by encouraging her to not comply with police. Videos posted on Facebook and Instagram appeared to show Gaines, who was black, talking with police in the doorway to her apartment and to her son during the standoff. The standoff Monday began after three officers went to Gaines' apartment to serve arrest warrants on her and her boyfriend, Kareem K. Courtney, 39, according to police. Gaines' bench warrant stemmed from charges during a March 10 stop, including disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Authorities said she was armed with a 12-gauge pistol grip shotgun that was legally purchased last year and toward the end of the negotiations pointed it directly at an officer and said, "If you don't leave, I'm going to kill you." An officer shot at her and Gaines fired two shots, but missed the officers, who returned fire and killed her, police said. Facebook's policy says that it may grant law enforcement permission to suspend accounts in cases where there is a substantial risk of harm. Facebook has received roughly 855 requests for emergency disclosures of information to government agencies due to the threat of harm or violence between July and December 2015, according to their Government Request Report. About 73 percent of those requests were granted.

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