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English Man Spends 11 Hours Trying To Make Cup of Tea With Wi-Fi Kettle ( 200

All data specialist Mark Rittman wanted was a cup of tea from his all new Wi-Fi kettle. Little did he know that the thing would take 11 hours for that. The issue, in the case of Rittman was, that the base station was not able to communicate with the kettle itself. According to The Guardian: A key problem seemed to be that Rittman's kettle didn't come with software that would easily allow integration with other devices in his home, including Amazon Echo, which, like Apple's Siri, allows users to tell connected smart devices what to do. So Rittman was trying to build the integration functionality himself. Then, after 11 hours, a breakthrough: the kettle started responding to voice control.

Comment Re:Might as well break the ice (Score 3, Interesting) 342

I go to movies too. Probably 8 times a year or so. There are some loud and rude people. But most of the folks aren't. I've had to give a shout and a death stare to one ass that kept kicking my chair. But normally it is pretty much OK. I still think movies should be available "day and date" (on streaming and theaters in the same day). I don't care if they tier the pricing over time. On day one, rental streaming $25, theaters their normal too high price. 30 days in, $8.99 for streaming and it goes to the bargain theaters. 90 days in and it goes to Netflix and others (free streaming with paid monthly account). Something like that. Work out the prices and set them to something that makes sense - that was just a broad strokes idea or pricing. There should also be global release and no region locking. It is proven that if you make access available people pay for it. Sure, there are you inveterate, never going to pay for anything people. But they aren't and won't ever be your customers. Make it available everywhere at the same time and you will get customers.

Vladimir Putin Is Replacing Microsoft Programs With Domestic Software ( 277

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Moscow city will replace Microsoft Corp. programs with domestic software on thousands of computers in answer to President Vladimir Putin's call for Russia's authorities to reduce dependence on foreign technology amid tensions with the U.S. and Europe. The city will initially replace Microsoft's Exchange Server and Outlook on 6,000 computers with an e-mail system installed by state-run carrier Rostelecom PJSC, Artem Yermolaev, head of information technology for Moscow, told reporters Tuesday. Moscow may expand deployment of the new software, developed by Russia's New Cloud Technologies, to as many as 600,000 computers and servers, and may also consider replacing Windows and Office, Yermolaev said. Putin is urging state entities and local companies to go domestic amid concerns over security and reliability after U.S. firms shut down paid services in Crimea following Russia's 2014 annexation. The plan poses a challenge to the likes of Microsoft, SAP SE and Oracle Corp. in the country's $3 billion software market. Adding to pressure, Putin's internet czar German Klimenko wants to raise taxes on U.S. technology companies to help Russian competitors such as Yandex NV and Group Ltd.

Aetna To Provide Apple Watch To 50,000 Employees, Subsidize Cost For Customers ( 150

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Mac Rumors: Insurance company Aetna today announced a major health initiative centered on the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch, which will see Aetna subsidizing the cost of the Apple Watch for both large employers and individual customers. Starting this fall during open enrollment season, Aetna will subsidize "a significant portion" of the Apple Watch cost and will offer monthly payroll deductions to cover the remaining cost. Aetna also plans to provide Apple Watches at no cost to all of its nearly 50,000 employees as part of a wellness reimbursement program to encourage them to live healthier lives. Aetna plans to develop several iOS health initiatives with "support" from Apple, debuting "deeply integrated" health apps for the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch that will be available to all Aetna customers. According to Aetna, these apps will "simplify the healthcare process" with features like care management to guide customers through a new diagnosis or a medication, medication reminders and tools for easy refills, quick contact with doctors, integration with Apple Wallet for paying bills and checking deductibles, and tools to help Aetna members get the most out of their insurance benefits. Aetna's health-related apps will be available starting in early 2017, but the Apple Watch initiative will begin in 2016. Aetna has not detailed how much of the cost will be subsidized or which Apple Watch models will be available to subscribers.

Microsoft Signature PC Requirements Now Blocks Linux Installation: Reports 491

Reader sombragris writes: According to a well-documented forum thread, the Signature PC program by Microsoft now requires to lock down PCs. This user found out that his Lenovo Yoga 900 ISK2 UltraBook has the SSD in a proprietary RAID mode which Linux does not understand and the BIOS is also locked down so it could not be turned off. When he complained that he was unable to install Linux, the answer he got was: "This system has a Signature Edition of Windows 10 Home installed. It is locked per our agreement with Microsoft."
Even worse, as the original poster said, "[t]he Yoga 900 ISK2 at Best Buy is not labeled as a Signature Edition PC, but apparently it is one, and Lenovo's agreement with Microsoft includes making sure Linux can't be installed." As some commenter said: "If you buy a computer with this level of lockdown you should be told."

There is also a report on ZDNet which looks very understanding towards Lenovo, but the fact remains: the SSD is locked down in a proprietary RAID mode that cannot be turned off.

A Design Defect Is Plaguing Many iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Units ( 222

Evan Selleck, writing for iPhoneHacks (edited and condensed): For many iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus owners out there in the wild, a design defect is apparently causing some huge issues. Gadget repair firm iFixit has reported about a flaw dubbed "Touch Disease", which it claims is cropping up. With it, owners of the phones are experiencing, to start, a gray bar that appears at the very top of their display. And, for many others, the display itself becomes unresponsive to touch, or less responsive overall. In the blog post, iFixit says the problem stems from issues with the touchscreen controller chip, which is soldered onto the logic board. Interestingly enough, iFixit posits that the same internal design decisions that led to "Endgate" might be causing the issue leading to Touch Disease, too: "In both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the Touch IC chips connect to the logic board via an array of itty-bitty solder balls -- "like a plate resting on marbles," Jessa explains. Over time, as the phone flexes or twists slightly during normal use, those solder balls crack and start to lose contact with the board. "At first, there may be no defect at all. Later you might notice that the screen is sometimes unresponsive, but it is quick to come back with a hard reset," Jessa explains. "As the crack deepens into a full separation of the chip-board bond, the periods of no touch function become more frequent."

Hulu Ends Free Streaming Service, Moves Free Stuff To Yahoo View ( 111

Hulu has inked a deal with Yahoo to provide free, ad-supported episodes of a range of TV shows. But Hulu also said Monday it will end free streaming service on its own platform as it is moving that to an all-subscription model. As part of its expanded distribution deal with Yahoo, which is launching Yahoo View, a new ad-supported TV streaming site with five most recent episodes of shows from ABC, NBC, and Fox among other networks. From an article on The Hollywood Reporter:Most of Hulu's free content has been fairly limited, restricted to what's known as the "rolling five," or the five most recent episodes of a current show -- content that typically becomes available eight days after it airs and is usually also available for free on broadcast networks' websites. For example, recent episodes of shows like America's Got Talent, South Park and Brooklyn Nine-Nine are currently available for free, while Hulu's slate of originals and high-profile exclusives remain behind the paywall. [...] Yahoo is launching the TV site a half-year after shuttering Yahoo Screen, the video service that offered up ad-supported episodes of original TV shows like Community, live streaming concerts and other clips. With View, however, Yahoo is focusing specifically on providing a destination for television to its audience, many of whom are still driven to Yahoo products via its highly trafficked homepage.
The Courts

UK Judge Calls For An Online Court Without Lawyers To Cut Costs 103

mi writes from a report via The Times: A senior judge has called for the establishment of an online court (Warning: source may be paywalled) that does not have lawyers and can deal with claims of up to 25,000 British Pound (around $32,850). The proposal is the centerpiece of a package of reforms to the civil justice system, drawn up by Lord Justice Briggs, a Court of Appeal judge. Just how exactly will this court ensure no one is, in fact, a trained professional on the internet, where no one knows who you really are, is not explained. We discussed the idea last year. Apparently, it is still alive. The judge's report says this computer court would provide "effective access to justice without having to incur the disproportionate cost of using lawyers." The Law Gazette reported earlier in June that Briggs has mused about a three-stage process -- triage, conciliation and final judgement -- in which there might be some lawyer involvement.

Putin Gives Federal Security Agents Two Weeks To Produce 'Encryption Keys' For The Internet ( 296

An anonymous reader writes: The President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, has ordered the Federal Security Service (FSB) to produce "encryption keys" to decrypt all data on the internet, and the FSB has two weeks to do it, Meduza reports. The head of the FSB, Alexander Bortnikov, is responsible for accomplishing such a task. "The new 'anti-terrorist' laws require all 'organizers of information distribution' that add 'additional coding' to transmitted electronic messages to provide the FSB with any information necessary to decrypt those messages," reports Meduza. "It's still unclear what information exactly online resources are expected to turn over, given that all data on the internet is encoded, one way or another, and in many instances encryption keys for encrypted information simply don't exist." Some of the details of the executive order include requiring telecom providers and "organizers of information distribution" to store copies of the content of all information they transmit for six months and store the metadata for three years so the Kremlin can access it whenever they want. In order for that to happen, ISPs would need to build new data centers capable of holding all that information and buy imported equipment, all without state subsidies, where they risk going bankrupt. To actually operate the data centers, the Russian government would need to upgrade Russia's outdated electrical grid and cables, which could cost between $30 and $77 billion. What about the "encryption keys?" In addition to storing all the transmitted information, "organizers of information distribution" have to turn over "any information necessary to decrypt those messages." Therefore, "additional coding" will need to be added to all electronic messages to act as instructions for the FSB to "decode" them. Many services and websites don't have "keys" or are fundamentally unsharable, like banks and financial institutions. Nearly all electronic information needs to be "encoded" in some way. Bortnikov has two weeks and the clock starts now. Good luck!

TP-LINK Loses Control of Two Device Configuration Domains ( 86

Reader Orome1 writes: Security researcher Amitay Dan warns that, a domain through which TP-LINK router owners can configure their devices, is no longer owned by the company, and that this fact could be misused by malware peddlers. TP-LINK has confirmed that they no longer own the domain in question, and will not be trying to buy it from the unknown seller for now. Instead, they intend to change the domain in the manuals to a newer one that's already in use.ComputerWorld has more details.

Woman Wins $10,000 Lawsuit Against Microsoft Over Windows 10 Upgrades ( 443

An anonymous reader shares this story from the Seattle Times: A few days after Microsoft released Windows 10 to the public last year, Teri Goldstein's computer started trying to download and install the new operating system. The update, which she says she didn't authorize, failed. Instead, the computer she uses to run her Sausalito, California, travel-agency business slowed to a crawl. It would crash, she says, and be unusable for days at a time. "I had never heard of Windows 10," Goldstein said. "Nobody ever asked me if I wanted to update."

When outreach to Microsoft's customer support didn't fix the issue, Goldstein took the software giant to court, seeking compensation for lost wages and the cost of a new computer. She won. Last month, Microsoft dropped an appeal and Goldstein collected a $10,000 judgment from the company.

Microsoft denies any wrongdoing, and says they only halted their appeal to avoid the cost of further litigation.

Comment Re:I am not sur this is an improvement (Score 4, Informative) 136

So, this is an improvement because it is just one step of the process. If it fails (due to the no data connection issue you mention), you just click to use another method and it fails back to the previous text message option. So no real downside on that count. The biggest drawback I have hit with it is that Google won't let you use both this new method and a hardware security key (I was using a Yubikey). You have to remove the hardware security key from your account in order to add this new method. That's really a bummer because the hardware keys didn't rely on your phone at all. You just have a small USB key that you pop into the computer and press a button when prompted.

Non-US Encryption Is 'Theoretical', Claims CIA Chief In Backdoor Debate ( 312

Iain Thomson, writing for The Register: CIA director John Brennan told U.S. senators they shouldn't worry about mandatory encryption backdoors hurting American businesses. And that's because, according to Brennan, there's no one else for people to turn to: if they don't want to use U.S.-based technology because it's been forced to use weakened cryptography, they'll be out of luck because non-American solutions are simply "theoretical." Thus, the choice is American-built-and-backdoored or nothing, apparently. The spymaster made the remarks at a congressional hearing on Thursday after Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) questioned the CIA's support for weakening cryptography to allow g-men to peek at people's private communications and data. Brennan said this was needed to counter the ability of terrorists to coordinate their actions using encrypted communications. The director denied that forcing American companies to backdoor their security systems would cause any commercial problems.

Even In Remotest Africa, Windows 10 Nagware Ruins Your Day ( 224

Iain Thomson, writing for The Register: When you're stuck in the middle of the Central African Republic (CAR) trying to protect the wildlife from armed poachers and the Lord's Resistance Army, then life's pretty tough. And now Microsoft has made it tougher with Windows 10 upgrades. The Chinko Project manages roughly 17,600 square kilometres (6,795 square miles) of rainforest and savannah in the east of the CAR, near the border with South Sudan. Money is tight, and so is internet bandwidth. So the staff was more than a little displeased when one of the donated laptops the team uses began upgrading to Windows 10 automatically, pulling in gigabytes of data over a radio link. And it's not just bandwidth bills they have to worry about. "If a forced upgrade happened and crashed our PCs while in the middle of coordinating rangers under fire from armed militarized poachers, blood could literally be on Microsoft's hands," said one member of the team.This is not a one-off case. We're reading about similar incidents everyday. Automatic updates, accidental automatic update, and the humongous data that these updates eat are ruining user experience for many. These are real issues. It's been roughly a year since Windows 10 has been officially available to consumers, and Microsoft is yet to address the issue.

Ask Slashdot: Why Do You Want a 'Smart TV'? 507

Reader kheldan questions the need for a Smart TV (edited for clarity): Yesterday we read about how Samsung is planning on 'upgrading' the firmware in its smart TVs so that it could inject ads into your video streams. This raises the question yet again: Why do you even need a 'smart TV' in the first place? We live in an age where media-center computers and DVRs are ubiquitous, and all your TV really needs to be is a high-def monitor to connect to these devices. Even many smartphones have HDMI connectivity, and a Raspberry Pi is inexpensive and can play 1080 content at full framerate. None of these devices are terribly expensive anymore, and the price jump from a non-smart TV to a smart TV makes it difficult to justify the expense. Also, remember previous articles posted on the subject of surveillance many of these smart TVs have been found guilty of. So I put it to you, denizens of Slashdot: Why does anyone really want a 'smart TV'?

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