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Communications

Facebook Is Testing Autoplaying Video With Sound (thenextweb.com) 140

An anonymous reader writes: Facebook is testing a "feature" that autoplays video clips on your feed with sound. It's not a very big test, but there's a possibility the company could roll it out to a larger group of users. The Next Web reports: "The company is currently trying two methods of getting people to watch video with sound in Australia: the aforementioned autoplaying, and an unmute button on the lower right corner of videos, like Vine videos on a desktop. The latter certainly sounds more reasonable; the last thing you want is to be checking Facebook quickly during a meeting or class, and suddenly have your phone blaring out an advert because you happened to stop on a video. Thankfully, you can disable the 'feature' from your settings, but the point is there's nothing wrong with the current opt-in approach, especially considering how many companies are embracing video captioning, and that Facebook even has its own auto-caption tool for advertisers." "We're running a small test in News Feed where people can choose whether they want to watch videos with sound on from the start," a Facebook spokesperson told Mashable Australia. "For people in this test who do not want sound to play, they can switch it off in Settings or directly on the video itself. This is one of several tests we're running as we work to improve the video experience for people on Facebook."

Comment Re:Heu.. ???? (Score 1) 396

It would be kind of nice to be able to go back to a nice, reliable Linux system but still be able to do WMI queries against all those poor Windows boxes on our network.

The one *really* slow thing that I've had to fight with in Powershell isn't really Powershell's fault so much as Windows and/or .NET - there's no way to configure the TCP connection timeout, so anything involving an attempted connection takes forever to timeout and fail if there's nothing at the other end.

Comment Re:Heu.. ???? (Score 1) 396

I've been messing with it for a while now and I'm moderately productive with it, but I agree. It's like the powershell team has some people that really like BASH, some that really like Python, and some that really like c#, maybe one or two that like Visual Basic...and each group was assigned to work on different parts of Powershell.

Comment Re:It's heartbreaking that politicians don't do sh (Score 1) 482

The trick is that they're (probably) not actually violating the law in most of these cases. I'm under the impression that it's not the employer that normally hires the H1B replacement. Instead, they decide to "outsource" IT from their own employees to Wipro or Infosys or similar Indian company whose US subsidiaries are the ones bringing in all the H1B-visa employees.

Obviously a violation of the spirit of the law, but unless someone has some relatively damning evidence leaked from inside one of the outsourcing firms, there's nothing to stick a letter-of-the-law violation to.

Power

NRA Complaint Takes Down 38,000 Websites (vice.com) 565

Sarah Jeong, reporting for Motherboard:38,000 websites hosted by the automated publishing service Surge went down today, after the National Rifle Association sent a legal notice over a parody website created by the Yes Men. A few days ago, the Yes Men released the parody video, "Share the Safety" -- announcing a supposed NRA program to deliver firearms into the hands of those too impoverished to afford guns. The opening frame of the video says "Paid for in part by the National Rifle Association of America with additional support from Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation." "Systemic poverty and dumb laws keep the urban poor unable to acquire life-saving firearms," says the video, which is available on YouTube. "That's why we at the NRA are teaming up with Smith & Wesson to share the safety.â The YouTube description includes a link to the "official" website, ShareTheSafety.org.
Google

Spanish Authorities Raid Google Offices Over Tax (reuters.com) 135

An anonymous reader shares a Reuters report:Spanish officials raided Google's Madrid offices on Thursday in a probe related to its payment of taxes, a person familiar with the matter said, barely a month after the internet company had its headquarters in France searched on suspicion of tax evasion. A spokeswoman for Google said in a brief statement the company complied with fiscal legislation in Spain just as it did in all countries where it operated. The company was working with authorities to answer all questions, the spokeswoman added. Google is under pressure across Europe from politicians and the public upset at how multinationals exploit their presence around the world to minimize their tax bills.
The Courts

President Obama Should Pardon Edward Snowden Before Leaving Office (theverge.com) 383

An anonymous reader writes from a report via The Verge: Ever since Edward Snowden set in motion the most powerful public act of whistleblowing in U.S. history, he has been living in exile in Russia from the United States. An article in this week's New York Magazine looks at how Snowden may have a narrow window of opportunity where President Obama could pardon him before he leaves office. Presumably, once he leaves office, the chances of Snowden being pardoned by Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump are miniscule. Obama has said nothing in the past few years to suggest he's interested in pardoning Snowden. Not only would it contradict his national security policy, but it will severely alienate the intelligence community for many years to come. With that said, anyone who values a free and secure internet believes pardoning Snowden would be the right thing to do. The Verge reports: "[Snowden] faces charges under the Espionage Act, which makes no distinction between delivering classified files to journalists and delivering the same files to a foreign power. For the first 80 years of its life, it was used almost entirely to prosecute spies. The president has prosecuted more whistleblowers under the Espionage Act than all president before him combined. His Justice Department has vastly expanded the scope of the law, turning it from a weapon against the nation's enemies to one that's pointed against its own citizens. The result will be less scrutiny of the nation's most powerful agencies, and fewer forces to keep them in check. With Snowden's push for clemency, the president has a chance to complicate that legacy and begin to undo it. It's the last chance we'll have."
Businesses

Russia Lawmakers Pass Spying Law That Requires Encryption Backdoors, Call Surveillance (dailydot.com) 109

A bill that was proposed recently in the Russian Duma to make cryptographic backdoors mandatory in all messaging apps, has passed. Patrick Howell O'Neill, reports for DailyDot:A massive surveillance bill is now on its way to becoming law in Russia. The "anti-terrorism" legislation includes a vast data-eavesdropping and -retention program so that telecom and internet companies have to record and store all customer communications for six months, potentially at a multitrillion-dollar cost. Additionally, all internet firms have to provide mandatory backdoor access into encrypted communications for the FSB, the Russian intelligence agency and successor to the KGB. The bill, with support from the ruling United Russia party, passed Friday in the Duma, Russia's lower legislative house, with 277 votes for, 148 against, and one abstaining. It now moves to Russia's Federal Council and the Kremlin, where it's expected to pass into law.
Businesses

New York Criminalizes the Use Of Ticket-Buying Bots (engadget.com) 214

An anonymous reader writes: If you failed to get tickets for your favorite band, even though your finger was poised on the "buy" link the instant they went on sale, don't worry -- you never stood a chance. They were probably snapped up by bots that, in one case, bought 1,012 Madison Square Garden U2 tickets in less than a minute. The state of New York has declared that scalpers who use them could get fines and even jail time. "New Yorkers have been dealing with this frustrating ticket buying experience for too long," says state assembly member Marcos Crespie. Using such bots was illegal before, but only brought civil, not criminal sanctions. However, a three-year investigation by NY attorney general Eric. T. Schneiderman found that the practice was so widespread that the state had to take harsher measures. Ticketing outlets and credit card companies revealed that bots scoop up the best seats in seconds, which scalpers then resell at prices many times over face value. Scalpers who exploit such software could now face criminal, class A misdemeanor charges.
Cloud

Microsoft is Working On Software For The Legal Marijuana Industry (theverge.com) 87

An anonymous reader writes from a report via The Verge: Microsoft has announced today that it will partner with Los Angeles-based startup Kind on a system for tracking the legal growing and sale of marijuana. Microsoft will work with the startup on software services for governments tracking legal weed, with Microsoft powering the software through its Azure cloud computing service. "The goal of this relationship is to leverage each company's resources to provide State, County, and Municipalities with purpose built solutions for track and trace ('seed to sale' in the cannabis industry) technology," Kind said in a statement. As reported in The New York Times, this is a pretty significant venture for a corporation publicly journeying into the controversial industry. Growing and selling marijuana is still illegal under the federal government.

Comment Re:No suprise (Score 2) 231

You don't need the presidency. It'd certainly be nice, but I don't think it's where reforms would make the most difference. It's kind of obscene the way people are led by media coverage to believe that the presidential race is the only important one.

I honestly suspect Sanders always knew his presidential campaign was a longshot. I think the only reason he's campaigning so hard is to preserve and build influence over the party platform and to keep similarly-inclined voters engaged.

Now comes the endorsing of politically-similar senator and representative candidates, fundraising, and campaigning for the more-important (but much less promoted) races for the legislature, and influencing the party platform (and maybe an influential position on one or more congressional committees). He'd be a lot less able to accomplish anything in those areas is he had been "the guy who saw he couldn't possibly win so he quit" rather than "the guy who fought hard all the way to the end, kept visibility on the issues that he'll be fighting for in the party platform, and made the establishment candidate work for the nomination in spite of the party establishment support."

If I'm right about that, there's no way he'll "Nader" the presidential election, that'd be counter-productive to what I'm assuming his real political goals are.

Music

Amazon To Launch Streaming Music Service In Late Summer Or Early Fall: Report (reuters.com) 22

If Spotify, Pandora, Google Play Music, YouTube, and Apple Music aren't enough to meet your music demands, you will be delighted to know that Amazon is also working on a streaming music service that it intends to launch in late summer or early fall. According to Reuters, Amazon's upcoming subscription-based service will be offered at $9.99 per month, in line with major rivals. From the report: Although it will be a late entrant to the crowded streaming space, Amazon believes a comprehensive music service is important to its bid to be a one-stop shop for content and goods, the sources said. The new music offering also is intended to increase the appeal of the Amazon Echo, its home speaker, which searches the Internet and orders products from the retailer with voice commands.

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