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Submission + - NYT: Uber Engineers Geofenced Apple HQ to Cover Up iPhone Fingerprinting

theodp writes: Uber CEO Travis Kalanick's drive to win in life, writes the New York Times' Mike Isaac, has led to a pattern of risk-taking that has put his ride-hailing company on the brink of implosion, including a previously unreported encounter with Apple CEO Tim Cook in early 2015 that threatened the ride-sharing company with an iPhone ban death sentence: "For months, Mr. Kalanick had pulled a fast one on Apple by directing his employees to help camouflage the ride-hailing app from Apple’s engineers. The reason? So Apple would not find out that Uber had secretly been tracking iPhones even after its app had been deleted from the devices, violating Apple’s privacy guidelines. But Apple was on to the deception, and when Mr. Kalanick arrived at the midafternoon meeting sporting his favorite pair of bright red sneakers and hot-pink socks, Mr. Cook was prepared. 'So, I’ve heard you’ve been breaking some of our rules,' Mr. Cook said in his calm, Southern tone. Stop the trickery, Mr. Cook then demanded, or Uber’s app would be kicked out of Apple’s App Store. For Mr. Kalanick, the moment was fraught with tension. If Uber’s app was yanked from the App Store, it would lose access to millions of iPhone customers — essentially destroying the ride-hailing company’s business. So Mr. Kalanick acceded."

Submission + - A battery made of molten metals (mit.edu)

Z00L00K writes: This story came out a while ago, but didn't seem to surface:

A novel rechargeable battery developed at MIT could one day play a critical role in the massive expansion of solar generation needed to mitigate climate change by midcentury. Designed to store energy on the electric grid, the high-capacity battery consists of molten metals that naturally separate to form two electrodes in layers on either side of the molten salt electrolyte between them. Tests with cells made of low-cost, Earth-abundant materials confirm that the liquid battery operates efficiently without losing significant capacity or mechanically degrading — common problems in today’s batteries with solid electrodes. The MIT researchers have already demonstrated a simple, low-cost process for manufacturing prototypes of their battery, and future plans call for field tests on small-scale power grids that include intermittent generating sources such as solar and wind.


Comment Re: Time to switch (Score 2) 153

Volume licensing for Office 365 is a lot cheaper per seat than simply multiplying the list price by number of employees. It also has a much simpler licensing model than previous Microsoft volume licensing, which makes compliance easier (you get all of the desktop apps for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android included). The latter point alone is worth it to a lot of big companies.

Submission + - Wall Street IT Engineer Hacks Employer to See If He'll Be Fired (bleepingcomputer.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A Wall Street engineer was arrested for planting credentials-logging malware on his company's servers. According to an FBI affidavit, the engineer used these credentials to log into fellow employees' accounts. The engineer claims he did so only because he heard rumors of an acquisition and wanted to make sure he wouldn't be let go.

In reality, the employer did look at archived email inboxes, but he also stole encryption keys needed to access the protected source code of his employer's trading platform and trading algorithms. Using his access to the company's Unix network (which he gained after a promotion last year), the employee then rerouted traffic through backup servers in order to avoid the company's traffic monitoring solution and steal the company's source code.

The employee was caught after he kept intruding and disconnecting another employee's RDP session. The employee understood someone hacked his account and logged the attacker's unique identifier. Showing his total lack of understanding for how technology, logging and legal investigations work, the employee admitted via email to a fellow employee that he installed malware on the servers and hacked other employees.

Submission + - Time to break up the google? I think so! (google.com)

shanen writes: Don't think of it as a penalty for success. It's the reward of incentivized reproduction. We don't need a google monopoly, but rather a herd of little googles all working to build on the strong foundation. Two results: (1) Competition will drive faster improvements, and (2) We'll get meaningful choice and more freedom.

Submission + - Second parchment manuscript copy of Declaration of Independence found (bostonglobe.com)

Okian Warrior writes: Two Harvard University researchers announced Friday that they have found a second parchment manuscript copy of the Declaration of Independence in a tiny records office in southern England.

The only other parchment copy is maintained by the National Archives in Washington, D.C., researchers Emily Sneff and Danielle Allen said in a statement.

The newly discovered document — which the two have dated to the 1780s — was found in the town of Chichester archives, and is believed to have originally belonged to Duke of Richmond who was known as the “Radical Duke,’’ for the support he gave to Americans during the Revolutionary War, the researchers said.

Submission + - A Terrible Decision by the Internet Archive May Lead to Widespread Blocking (vortex.com)

Lauren Weinstein writes: We can stipulate at the outset that the venerable Internet Archive and its associated systems like Wayback Machine have done a lot of good for many years — for example by providing chronological archives of websites who have chosen to participate in their efforts. But now, it appears that the Internet Archive has joined the dark side of the Internet, by announcing that they will no longer honor the access control requests of any websites.

Comment Re: Becaue you aren't offering to do the work. (Score 2) 355

That's unfair. Blender did undergo some big changes, but they were more than justified. It's not like they're just continuously changing it, or that the changes weren't warranted. I think Blender is a better tool today because of their changes.

I have much more of an issue with GIMP. Pushing forth changes that the vast majority of the userbase hated (and railed against on the forum), and got a big "FU, if you don't like it, use another tool" response from the developers. Comments on the "can only save XCF through the save menu, changes to other formats pester you about "unsaved changes" even if you do export" design change were over 10:1 against. The brush size slider is a mess. Text editing is broken in about ten different ways, from it forgetting what font size you're typing in to not rendering full text deletion in some cases. The general quality has gone way downhill. Meanwhile, things that have supposedly been "in the works" for years, like higher bit-depth colour, seem further away than ever. Even if I didn't want to export to a higher bit depth, if I want to do a gaussian blur on a high-res image I need to do a combination of dithers and blurs because of the loss of precision at 8 bits per channel.

Facebook is the classic example of terrible product evolution (particularly Messenger... have these people never heard of the concept of screen real estate?). I'd also like to zing Google for Google Maps. Today it's way slower, they took the very convenient full-length zoom bar out (and only put the tiny one in after user complaints), buttons with similar functionality are scattered out (e.g. satellite is on the bottom left, but landscape hidden in the menu top left), photo integration is terrible (no longer shows photos where they actually are, but in a giant "bar" on the bottom of the screen, opened by an ambiguous icon that looks like three different buttons, with lines that point to the map seemingly at random), make you zoom in twice as far to see the same amount of map information (ex. road labels), added icons to the upper right that have no connection to Maps at all just for "product consistency", and so on. And it's 2017, why is their landscape option still so terrible? Even little local companies' map services have vastly superior landscapes.

Comment Re:This is meaningless..... (Score 1) 356

Seriously, that's the best you have, a case from over a decade and a half ago? No country is perfect, but when you have to reach back sixteen years to find something to damn them for., you're really stretching.

World Justice Project (which uses a peer-reviewed methodology to rank judicial systems from around the world; there are over 17 experts just for Sweden alone) ranks Sweden the best in the world in terms of fundamental rights. Their biggest weakness in the rankings? Letting criminals off too easily. But never mind that, because there was a single incident sixteen years ago involving two people who had no legal right to be in the country (versus Assange who has no legal right to *not* be in the country) and who had been misidentified as convicted terrorists being extradited, that means that the whole country is evil and corrupt and just loves to extradite people, right?

Submission + - Devuan Jessie 1.0.0 stable release candidate announced (devuan.org)

jaromil writes: Devuan 1.0.0-RC is announced, following its beta 2 release last year. The Debian fork that spawned over systemd controversy is reaching stability and plans long term support. Devuan deploys an innovative continuous integration setup: with fallback on Debian packages, it overlays its own modifications and then uses the merged source repository to ship images for 11 ARM targets, a desktop and a minimal live, vagrant and qemu virtual machines and the classic installer isos. The release announcements contains several links to project that have already adopted this distribution as a base OS.

Submission + - EFF Says Google Chromebooks Are Still Spying on Students (softpedia.com)

schwit1 writes: In the past two years since a formal complaint was made against Google, not much has changed in the way they handle this.

Google still hasn't shed its "bad guy" clothes when it comes to the data it collects on underage students. In fact, the Electronic Frontier Foundation says the company continues to massively collect and store information on children without their consent or their parents'. Not even school administrators fully understand the extent of this operation, the EFF says.

According to the latest status report from the EFF, Google is still up to no good, trying to eliminate students privacy without their parents notice or consent and "without a real choice to opt out." This, they say, is done via the Chromebooks Google is selling to schools across the United States.

Submission + - Britain Set For First Coal-Free Day Since Industrial Revolution (theguardian.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The UK is set to have its first ever working day without coal power generation since the Industrial Revolution, according to the National Grid. The control room tweeted the predicted milestone on Friday, adding that it is also set to be the first 24-hour coal-free period in Britain. The UK has had shorter coal-free periods in 2016, as gas and renewables such as wind and solar play an increasing role in the power mix. The longest continuous period until now was 19 hours – first achieved on a weekend last May, and matched on Thursday. Hannah Martin, head of energy at Greenpeace UK, said: “The first day without coal in Britain since the Industrial Revolution marks a watershed in the energy transition. A decade ago, a day without coal would have been unimaginable, and in 10 years’ time our energy system will have radically transformed again." Britain became the first country to use coal for electricity when Thomas Edison opened the Holborn Viaduct power station in London in 1882. It was reported in the Observer at the time that “a hundred weight of coal properly used will yield 50 horse power for an hour.” And that each horse power “will supply at least a light equivalent to 150 candles”.

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