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Sony

Sony To Boost Smartphone Batteries Because People Aren't Replacing Phones (theguardian.com) 210

Not too long ago, people would replace their phone every 18 months. But that isn't the case with most people now. According to new estimates, more people are now changing their phones after at least three years. The problem with this is that by the end of two-three years, the battery on the phone reaches a stage where it gets really annoying. Sony has a solution, or so it says. From The Guardian:Sony is trying to fix that, but not by fixing the battery. That's because the lithium ion cells within smartphones don't exactly need fixing -- they will continue to work for years -- but their ability to hold their original amount of charge rapidly diminishes with repeated recharging cycles. Everyone who finds themselves with a chunky battery pack for their new smartphone or desperately searching for a charger by mid-afternoon knows battery capacity is a never-ending headache that only gets worse as a smartphone, and its battery ages. Rather than fixing the battery, Sony wants to do something about the recharging. Jun Makino, Sony mobile's senior product marketing manager, said; "We've started learning your charging cycles so that our new Xperia X smartphones only complete charging to 100% when they estimate you're about to start using them, so that the damage caused by maintaining a battery at 100% is negated. This is important, a battery that's usually kept at a charge between 20% and 80% of its capacity is much healthier -- it's going to the extremes that wears it out at a faster rate. This is important, a battery that's usually kept at a charge between 20% and 80% of its capacity is much healthier - it's going to the extremes that wears it out at a faster rate. The Japanese electronics firm has partnered with Californian adaptive charging company Qnovo to put technology into its Xperia smartphones. This includes the new top-end Xperia XZ and Xperia X Compact, which Sony reckons will double the life of the battery to around four years.
Piracy

Cox Denies Liability for Pirating Subscribers, Appeals $25 Million Verdict (torrentfreak.com) 97

Cox Communications insists that it is not responsible for copyright infringements carried out by its subscribers, challenging the ruling by a Virginia federal jury late last year. The court had found Cox Communications guilty and had asked it to pay music publisher BMG Rights Management a sum of $25 in damages. TorrentFreak reports: The verdict was a massive victory for the music company and a disaster for Cox, but the case is not closed yet. After a failed motion for judgment as a matter of law earlier this month, the ISP has now informed the court that it will take the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Cox denies any wrongdoing and hopes to get a judgment in its favor at the appeals court. Considering the gravity of the case, Cox's move is not surprising. The liability verdict has come as a shock to the Internet provider industry, as it suggests that providers have to actively disconnect repeat infringers. At the moment, many ISPs don't have a solid policy in place where repeat copyright infringers lose their subscription. In fact, the law doesn't prescribe when and based on what evidence an ISP has to terminate an account.
China

Minecraft Tops 100 Million Sales (engadget.com) 112

An anonymous reader writes: Mojang has announced today that its game 'Minecraft' has passed 100 million sales across all platforms, including PC, Mac, consoles and mobile. Nearly 53,000 copies of the game have been sold every single day around the world since the beginning of the year. What may be even more impressive is the fact that more than 40 million people actively open up a Minecraft world each month and play around with a blocky axe, shovel and sword. According to Wikipedia, Minecraft is the second-bestselling video game of all-time next to Tetris. Tetris has sold a whopping 495 million copies, so don't expect Minecraft to earn the number one spot anytime soon. Microsoft did acquire Mojang almost two years ago, and there has been no word on a sequel as the company continues to release Minecraft for new platforms like HoloLens and Samsung's Gear VR. Soon, there will even be a version made just for China too.
The Courts

Insurer Refuses To Cover Cox In Massive Piracy Lawsuit (torrentfreak.com) 101

An anonymous reader writes with news that Cox Communications' insurer, Lloyds Of London underwriter Beazley, is refusing to cover legal costs and any liabilities from the case brought against it by BMG and Round Hill Music. TorrentFreak reports: "Trouble continues for one of the largest Internet providers in the United States, with a Lloyds underwriter now suing Cox Communications over an insurance dispute. The insurer is refusing to cover legal fees and potential piracy damages in Cox's case against BMG Rights Management and Round Hill Music. Following a ruling from a Virginia federal court that Cox is not protected by the safe-harbor provisions of the DMCA, the Internet provider must now deal with another setback. Following a ruling from a Virginia federal court that Cox is not protected by the safe-harbor provisions of the DMCA, the Internet provider must now deal with another setback."
Security

Another Drone Crashes Near White House (roboticstrends.com) 58

An anonymous reader writes: A man has been given a citation for flying a Drone near the Washington Monument and crashing on the Ellipse, a grassy area outside of the security perimeter near the White House South Lawn. Howard Solomon III said he had been trying to take pictures of the monument and that the wind blew the drone across a street that divides the Ellipse from the grounds of the Washington Monument. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Park Police says Solomon didn't appear to be doing anything 'nefarious' but added, hat this was the ninth time a drone has been flown in a national park in the greater Washington area in 2015 and the 26th since 2013.
The Internet

The Economics of Drug Sales On the Dark Web 53

HughPickens.com writes: Allison Schrager has an interesting article about how marketplaces for contraband drugs have only existed for about four years on the dark web, but they've made inroads fast. About 10%-15% of drug users in the U.K., U.S., and Australia [are believed to have] bought drugs off the net. According to Schrager, these marketplaces look remarkably similar to normal online marketplaces. Users leave detailed reviews on the quality of a vendor's product, speed of delivery, and how secure the shipping method was. There's information on where vendors are located and where they'll ship to. Some even post their refund and exchange policies. Purchasing meth from a dealer in the Netherlands feels as familiar and mundane as buying sheets from Macy's. The dark web makes transactions safer.

All the same, there are risks that Macy's customers don't run. Because there's no legal protection for illegal purchases, the bitcoin payments sit in escrow until the goods have been delivered and both parties are satisfied. That exposes the seller to exchange-rate risk, because bitcoin is an extremely volatile currency. And there is one other big source of risk: the point where the virtual world of the dark web and the world of physical reality intersect. In other words, getting drugs delivered. Certain drugs like MDMA and LSD may move mostly online. And the web may become the preferred source for affluent users and small-time pot dealers.
Earth

Countries Gaming Carbon Offsets May Have Dramatically Increased Emissions 158

schwit1 writes: Abuse of the carbon offset system may have caused emissions to increase by as much as 600 million tons. That's the finding of a new report from the Stockholm Environment Institute, which investigated carbon credits used to offset greenhouse gas emissions under a UN scheme. As one of the co-authors of the report put it, issuing these credits "was like printing money." From the article: "In some projects, chemicals known to warm the climate were created and then destroyed to claim cash. As a result of political horse trading at UN negotiations on climate change, countries like Russia and the Ukraine were allowed to create carbon credits from activities like curbing coal waste fires, or restricting gas emissions from petroleum production. Under the UN scheme, called Joint Implementation, they then were able to sell those credits to the European Union's carbon market. Companies bought the offsets rather than making their own more expensive, emissions cuts. But [the studey] says the vast majority of Russian and Ukrainian credits were in fact, "hot air" — no actual emissions were reduced.
Software

Why Your Software Project Is Failing 119

An anonymous reader writes: At OSCON this year, Red Hat's Tom Callaway gave a talk entitled "This is Why You Fail: The Avoidable Mistakes Open Source Projects STILL Make." In 2009, Callaway was starting to work on the Chromium project—and to say it wasn't a pleasant experience was the biggest understatement Callaway made in his talk. Callaway said he likes challenges, but he felt buried by the project, and reached a point where he thought he should just quit his work. (Callaway said it's important to note that Chromium's code is not bad code; it's just a lot of code and a lot of code that Google didn't write.) This was making Callaway really frustrated, and people wanted to know what was upsetting him. Callaway wanted to be able to better explain his frustration, so he crafted this list which he called his "Points of Fail."
Youtube

Ghost Towns Is the First 8K Video Posted To YouTube -- But Can You Watch It? 181

Iddo Genuth writes: 4K videos and movies are still far from common and now 8K seems to start making its appearance online. A few days ago, what might be the first 8K video entitled "Ghost Towns" was published on Youtube and you can now watch it for yourself in its full 7680 × 4320 pixel glory — that is if you happen to have access to a 8K display (or projector).

The video was created by cinematographer Luke Neumann who used a 6K EPIC DRAGON camera using some advanced and complex techniques such as shooting in portrait orientation and then stitched the video together in Adobe After Effects. Some shots simply scaled up by 125% from 6.1K to meet the 7.6K standard and handheld stuff was 6K scaled up by 125% and sharpened up.

Youtube is now offering an 8K option and according to Google: "8K video has been supported since 2010, but that labeling for 8K video (the 4320p/8K quality setting like pictured above) was added "earlier this year — but presumably there was noting to view — until now...
Earth

SpaceX Launch of "GoreSat" Planned For Today, Along With Another Landing Attempt 75

The New York Times reports that SpaceX will again attempt to recover a Falcon 9 launch vehicle, after the recent unsuccessful try; the company believes the lessons from the earlier launch have been learned, and today's launch will be loaded with more hydraulic fluid. This evening, the rocket is to loft the satellite nicknamed "GoreSat," after Al Gore, who envisioned it as a sort of permanent eye in space beaing back pictures of Earth from afar. The purpose of the satellite has evolved, though: Writes the Times: The observatory, abbreviated as Dscovr and pronounced “discover,” is to serve as a sentinel for solar storms: bursts of high-energy particles originating from the sun. The particles from a gargantuan solar storm could induce electrical currents that might overwhelm the world’s power grids, possibly causing continent-wide blackouts. Even a 15-minute warning could let power companies take actions to limit damage.
United Kingdom

Winston Churchill's Scientists 77

HughPickens.com writes Nicola Davis writes at The Guardian that a new exhibition at London's Science Museum tiitled Churchill's Scientists aims to explore how a climate that mingled necessity with ambition spurred British scientists to forge ahead in fields as diverse as drug-discovery and operational research, paving the way for a further flurry of postwar progress in disciplines from neurology to radio astronomy. Churchill "was very unusual in that he was a politician from a grand Victorian family who was also interested in new technology and science," says Andrew Nahum. "That was quite remarkable at the time." An avid reader of Charles Darwin and HG Wells, Churchill also wrote science-inspired articles himself and fostered an environment where the brightest scientists could build ground-breaking machines, such as the Bernard Lovell telescope, and make world-changing discoveries, in molecular genetics, radio astronomy, nuclear power, nerve and brain function and robotics. "During the war the question was never, 'How much will it cost?' It was, 'Can we do it and how soon can we have it?' This left a heritage of extreme ambition and a lot of talented people who were keen to see what it could provide." (More, below.)
Medicine

WHO Timeline for Ebola Containment Proves Hard To Meet 78

The Associated Press, as carried by Salon, reports that the World Health Organization's intended timeline for limiting the spread of Ebola in the several West African countries where it has claimed thousands of lives has proved to be too optimistic. According to the article, Two months ago, the World Health Organization launched an ambitious plan to stop the deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa, aiming to isolate 70 percent of the sick and safely Ebola 70 percent of the victims in the three hardest-hit countries — Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone — by December 1. Only Guinea is on track to meet the December 1 goal, according to an update from WHO. In Liberia, only 23 percent of cases are isolated and 26 percent of the needed burial teams are in place. In Sierra Leone, about 40 percent of cases are isolated while 27 percent of burial teams are operational.
Government

US DOJ Lays Out Cybersecurity Basics Every Company Should Practice 58

coondoggie writes "The mantra is old, grant you, but worth repeating since it's obvious from the amount of cybersecurity breaches that not everyone is listening. Speaking at the Georgetown Cybersecurity Law Institute this week, Deputy Attorney General of the United States James Cole said there are a ton of things companies can do to help government and vice-versa, to combat cyber threats through better prevention, preparedness, and incidence response."
Television

When Vote Counting Goes Bad 128

ZipK writes "Television singing competition The Voice disclosed on Wednesday 'inconsistencies' with the tallying of on-line and SMS-based voting. Although host Carson Daly claimed the show wanted to be 'completely upfront,' the explanation from their third-party vote counter, Telescope, was anything but transparent. In particular, Telescope claims that disregarding all on-line and SMS-based voting for the two nights in question left no impact on the final results, but they haven't provided any detail of the 'inconsistency' or their ability to predict a complete lack of impact. Sure, it's only The Voice; but tomorrow it could be American Idol, and by next month, America's Got Talent."
Programming

Why Hasn't 3D Taken Off For the Web? 320

First time accepted submitter clockwise_music writes "With HTML5 we're closer to the point where a browser can do almost everything that a native app can do. The final frontier is 3D, but WebGL isn't even part of the HTML5 standard, Microsoft refuses to support it, Apple wants to push their native apps and it's not supported in the Android mobile browser. Flash used to be an option but Adobe have dropped mobile support. To reach most people you'd have to learn Javascript, WebGL and Three.js/Scene.js for Chrome/Firefox, then you'd have to learn Actionscript + Flash for the Microsofties, then learn Objective-C for the apple fanboys, then learn Java to write a native app for Android. When will 3D finally become available for all? Do you think it's inevitable or will it never see the light of day?"

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