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Submission + - Virtual Reality Kills 22,000 Arcades In China (allyoucanarcade.com)

All You Can Arcade writes: VR is looking less like a boom and more like a bust in Asia. Over the last 12 months, it's estimated that there have been 35,000 VR arcades that have opened up in China. A year later 22,000 of them have already closed. As arcade operators are taking on debt to invest in the latest fad, it appears that it's turning around and killing their businesses. The problem . . . people simply aren't willing to pay cinema and bowling alley prices, to play in public. With the VR industry pushing the hard sale on North American operators right now, we could see even more arcades closing down, if operators can't recoup their investments.
Government

This Blog Is Republishing All the Animal Welfare Records the USDA Deleted (vice.com) 91

Last year, thousands of animal welfare records were removed from the web by the Department of Agriculture. Now, a government transparency blog is on a mission to recover and republish as many of these records as possible. From a report on Motherboard: "Whenever there are documents that were online, but got pulled offline, they're automatically important," said Russ Kick, who runs the blog The Memory Hole 2, where many of the documents have already been re-published. "Nobody's going to go through the trouble to delete something that doesn't matter." The documents, which were removed by the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) late last week, included inspection records and annual reports made under the Animal Welfare Act and the Horse Protection Act. The USDA indicated that removing the documents was in response to a court decision, but a spokesperson contacted by Motherboard would not specify what court case. The records were typically used by animal welfare groups to keep tabs on how well these laws were being enforced, but were also used by the general public to research the inspection records of everything from dog breeders to circuses and zoos. "I've learned that if I see something and think 'I'm really surprised the government posted this,' I need to download it," Kick told me. "So when I found these reports, I thought 'this is surprising,' and I downloaded them."

Submission + - Simple Gmail Spoofing Leaves Users Open To Targeted Attacks (helpnetsecurity.com)

Orome1 writes: Gmail shows no warning as it delivers legitimate-looking spoofed emails seemingly coming from an existing Gmail.com address, even though they come from a non-Gmail server. This fact can be misused by attackers who want to trick their targets into clicking on a malicious link or download a malicious attachment, as the likelihood of them doing so rises considerably if the spoofed email seems to have been sent from a known sender.
Sony

If You Owned a PC With a DVD Drive You Might Be Able To Claim $10 (theverge.com) 99

If you owned a PC with a DVD drive more than 10 years ago, you're probably owed $10. From a report on The Verge: A class-action lawsuit is now accepting claims after Sony, NEC, Panasonic, and Hitachi-LG were accused of inflating the prices of optical drives sold to PC makers like Dell and HP. If you bought a PC with a DVD drive between April 1st 2003 and December 31st 2008, you'll be able to claim $10 for each drive as part of the class-action lawsuit. It appears you don't need to provide any proof of purchase -- the settlement administrators are simply collecting names, email addresses, and the number of drives owned at the moment. You'll need to submit a claim before July 1st, and the money won't be released until other defendants in the litigation have settled.
Businesses

'Fundraising Rounds Are Not Milestones' (ycombinator.com) 70

Michael Seibel, a partner at Y Combinator, writes in a blog post: I'd like to make the point that success isn't the same as raising a round of financing. Quite the opposite: raising a round should be a byproduct of success. Using fundraising itself as a benchmark is dangerous for the entire community because it encourages a culture of optimizing for short term showmanship instead of making something people want and creating lasting value. I believe founders, investors, and the tech press should fundamentally change how they think about fundraising. By deemphasizing investment rounds we would have more opportunity to celebrate companies who develop measurable milestones of value creation, focus on serving a customer with a real need, and generate sustainable businesses with good margins.
Businesses

Facebook Shareholders Urge Company To Replace Mark Zuckerberg With 'Independent' Board Chair (venturebeat.com) 182

An anonymous reader shares a VentureBeat report: Facebook is being pressured by a group of shareholders seeking the removal of company chief executive Mark Zuckerberg from the board of the directors. A proposal has been put forward claiming that an independent chairperson would be better able to "oversee the executives of the company, improve corporate governance, and set a more accountable, pro-shareholder agenda." The idea for Zuckerberg's board ousting comes from Facebook shareholders who are members of the consumer watchdog group SumOfUs. The organization bills itself as an online community that campaigns to hold corporations accountable on a variety of global issues such as climate change, workers' rights, discrimination, human rights, corruption, and corporate power grab.

Submission + - Politics Have Turned Facebook Into a Steaming Cauldron of Hate (backchannel.com) 1

mirandakatz writes: America has never been more divided, and on social media, people are blocking, muting, and unfriending each other left and right. At Backchannel, Jessi Hempel argues that Facebook is the last place we should be having political discussion right now: "We know the “filter bubble” about which Eli Pariser first wrote back in 2011 is part of the problem—it limits the viewpoints we see to those that reflect the opinions we already have. And yet we double down on that bubble, muting and blocking and unfriending people who think differently from us, if they make it into our social streams at all. We hate ourselves a tiny bit for this. And yet, if we do the opposite—engage on social media with people who hold different viewpoints—it almost always goes sideways." If you really want to understand people who don't think the same way as you? Get off of Facebook, and into the real world.

Submission + - Your Web Browsing History Can Be Linked To Your Social Media Accounts (helpnetsecurity.com)

Orome1 writes: Your web browsing history contains enough information for third parties to be able to link it to your social media profile (Twitter, Facebook, Reddit), Stanford and Princeton researchers have found. They tested their approach first on simulated browsing histories containing links originating from Twitter, then in practice with the help of 374 individuals who chose to participate in the research and “donate” their browsing histories. The result of that last test? Over 70 percent of the individuals were correctly tied to their Twitter accounts.
Intel

Intel's Atom C2000 Chips Are Bricking Products -- And It's Not Just Cisco Hit (theregister.co.uk) 58

Thomas Claburn, reporting for The Register: Intel's Atom C2000 processor family has a fault that effectively bricks devices, costing the company a significant amount of money to correct. But the semiconductor giant won't disclose precisely how many chips are affected nor which products are at risk. In its Q4 2016 earnings call earlier this month, chief financial officer Robert Swan said a product issue limited profitability during the quarter, forcing the biz to set aside a pot of cash to deal with the problem. "We were observing a product quality issue in the fourth quarter with slightly higher expected failure rates under certain use and time constraints, and we established a reserve to deal with that," he said. "We think we have it relatively well-bounded with a minor design fix that we're working with our clients to resolve." Coincidentally, Cisco last week issued an advisory warning that several of its routing, optical networking, security and switch products sold prior to November 16, 2016 contain a faulty clock component that is likely to fail at an accelerated rate after 18 months of operation. Cisco at the time declined to name the supplier of that component.

Submission + - Number Of Disclosed Vulnerabilities Reaches All Time High In 2016 (helpnetsecurity.com)

Orome1 writes: A new report shows 2016 broke the previous all-time record for the highest number of reported vulnerabilities. The 15,000 vulnerabilities cataloged during 2016 by Risk Based Security eclipsed the total covered by the CVE and National Vulnerability Database (NVD) by more than 6,500. While the number of vulnerabilities has gone up, CVE covered 8.2% less in 2016 compared to their high-mark of 9,088 in 2014. Furthermore, 1,945 of the vulnerabilities in 2016 published with CVE identifiers are still missing details in the CVE database and thus missing from NVD.
Sony

Sony PlayStation 4 Is Finally Adding Support For External Hard Drive (playstation.com) 45

The Sony PlayStation 4's next system update, out now for beta testers, will allow users to connect an external USB hard drive. From company's blog post: It's easy to upgrade the HDD that came with your PS4, but if you're still looking for more storage space on the console, we've got you covered. With this update, you have the option to store content to an external HDD. Just plug a USB 3.0 HDD into your PS4, and voila, you now have more space on the console.
Microsoft

Microsoft Introduces GVFS (Git Virtual File System) (microsoft.com) 213

Saeed Noursalehi, principal program manager at Microsoft, writes on a blog post: We've been working hard on a solution that allows the Git client to scale to repos of any size. Today, we're introducing GVFS (Git Virtual File System), which virtualizes the file system beneath your repo and makes it appear as though all the files in your repo are present, but in reality only downloads a file the first time it is opened. GVFS also actively manages how much of the repo Git has to consider in operations like checkout and status, since any file that has not been hydrated can be safely ignored. And because we do this all at the file system level, your IDEs and build tools don't need to change at all! In a repo that is this large, no developer builds the entire source tree. Instead, they typically download the build outputs from the most recent official build, and only build a small portion of the sources related to the area they are modifying. Therefore, even though there are over 3 million files in the repo, a typical developer will only need to download and use about 50-100K of those files. With GVFS, this means that they now have a Git experience that is much more manageable: clone now takes a few minutes instead of 12+ hours, checkout takes 30 seconds instead of 2-3 hours, and status takes 4-5 seconds instead of 10 minutes. And we're working on making those numbers even better.

Submission + - Exploit For Windows DoS Zero-Day Published, Patch Out On Tuesday? (helpnetsecurity.com)

Orome1 writes: A zero-day bug affecting Windows 10, 8.1, Windows Server 2012 and 2016 can be exploited to crash a vulnerable system and possibly even to compromise it. It is a memory corruption bug in the handling of SMB traffic that could be easily exploited by forcing a Windows system to connect to a malicious SMB share. Tricking a user to connect to such a server should be an easy feat if clever social engineering is employed.
Power

Electric Car Battery Prices Fell By 80% In the Last 7 Years, Says Study (electrek.co) 212

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Electrek: A new study published this month by McKinsey and Company looks into how automakers can move past producing EVs as compliance cars and "drive electrified vehicle sales and profitability." Unsurprisingly, it describes battery economics as an important barrier to profitability and though the research firm sees a path to automakers making a profit selling electric vehicles as battery costs fall, it doesn't see that happening for "the next two to three product cycles" -- or between 2025 and 2030. That's despite battery costs falling from ~1,000 per kWh in 2010 to ~$227 per kWh in 2016, according to McKinsey. The company wrote in the report: "Despite that drop, battery costs continue to make EVs more costly than comparable ICE-powered variants. Current projections put EV battery pack prices below $190/kWh by the end of the decade, and suggest the potential for pack prices to fall below $100/kWh by 2030." Automakers capable of staying ahead of that cost trend will be able to achieve higher margins and possible profits on electric vehicle sales sooner. Tesla is among the automakers staying ahead of the trend. While McKinsey projects that battery pack prices will be below $190/kWh by the end of the decade, Tesla claims to be below $190/kWh since early 2016. That's how the automaker manages to achieve close to 30% gross margin on its flagship electric sedan, the Model S. Tesla aims to reduce the price of its batteries by another 30% ahead of the Model 3 with the new 2170 cells in production at the Gigafactory in Nevada. It should enable a $35,000 price tag for a vehicle with a range of over 200 miles, but McKinsey sees $100/kWh as the target for "true price parity with ICE vehicles (without incentives)": "Given current system costs and pricing ability within certain segments, companies that offer EVs face the near-term prospect of losing money with each sale. Under a range of scenarios for future battery cost reductions, cars in the C/D segment in the US might not reach true price parity with ICE vehicles (without incentives) until between 2025 and 2030, when battery pack costs fall below $100/kWh, creating financial headwinds for automakers for the next two to three product cycles." UPDATE 2/3/17: We have changed the source to Electrek and quoted McKinsey and Company -- the company that conducted the study.
Medicine

Mexican Surgeon Uses VR Headset To Distract Patients During Surgery (bbc.com) 115

dryriver writes: The BBC has a longish story on a Mexican surgeon who makes his patients wear a VR headset that distracts them from the surgical procedure being performed on them. While Dr Mosso cuts and removes and stitches, the patient flies through a 3D VR re-creation of Machu Picchu or other fantastical places, oblivious to being in an otherwise -- for many patients -- stress inducing surgical setting. This removes the need to give patients powerful sedatives or painkillers to keep them calm and prevent their blood pressure from fluctuating. The surgeon only anesthetizes the part of the body where the surgery is performed, while the patient is absorbed in colorful and immersive VR worlds. An excerpt from the report: "The surgeon makes his first cut and blood spills down Ana's leg. She's surrounded by medical equipment -- stools, trolleys, swabs, syringes -- with super-bright surgical lamps suspended above the bed. Her vital signs are displayed on monitors just behind. But Ana is oblivious. She's immersed in a three-dimensional re-creation of Machu Picchu. She begins her journey with a breathtaking aerial view of the ancient city clinging to the mountainside, before swooping down to explore the details of stepped terraces, moss-covered walls and tiny stone huts. Mosso watches her carefully. A 54-year-old surgeon at Panamerican University in Mexico City, he's on a mission to bring virtual reality into the operating room. Mosso is using VR as a high-tech distraction technique, allowing surgeons to carry out operations that would normally require powerful painkillers and sedatives, with nothing more than local anaesthetic. He's trying to prove that reducing drug doses in this way not only slashes costs for Mexico's cash-strapped hospitals, but cuts complications and recovery times for patients too."

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