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Submission + - SPAM: The time of free smartphones is over, now its time for cheap phones

anderson00 writes: The two-year phone contract is almost dead, that’s for sure. Verizon, the #1 service provider in the US, said on Friday it would kill service contracts and the phone subsidies that came with them, winding down a decades-long pricing structure that tied consumers to their phone providers and determined how they paid for their smartphones. Sprint follows Big Red’s the steps as well.

Here’ some bad news. Verizon customers will no longer receive a free phone as long as they sign up a two-year contract, or pay $200 up front for the much-coveted iPhone 6, Galaxy S5 or Galaxy Note 5, which retails between $650 — $750. Beginning Aug. 13, Verizon customers will have to buy their phones outright or pay Verizon a monthly installment fee to rent the device. Though the latter plan can eventually cost a customer even more than $649 for the iPhone 6, it lets users trade up to newer versions. The plans will run month to month.

Sprint also plans to stop offering contract phone plans by the end of 2015, focusing instead on off-contract, monthly plans. New and existing customers using Sprint’s service will now pay full price up front for phones or lease the device, paying it month-by-month over the course of two years, which is the trick that the monthly plans tend to pull to make the phone more affordable, while still having some sort of long-term commitment even without the contract.

Sprint is the last of the major four carriers to start making major moves in this direction. T-Mobile first stopped selling contract plans two years ago, and Verizon joined right now; AT&T still sells contract phone plans, but they're harder to get than they used to be — you have to buy them through AT&T itself.

Removing the two-year restriction does provide for additional flexibility when upgrading smartphone. Anyone who wants the latest and greatest will be able to make the switch without the hassle, because they are not stuck with a plan that makes them miss a generation of new devices. But there is a downside, you will need to pay full retail price for the new device.
So while the sticker shock of paying the full price for a smartphone upfront might catch consumers off guard—and might lead to a temporary sales slump for manufacturers like Apple, Samsung or LG —it’s unlikely to make that much of a difference to a household’s bottom line. There will be noticeable market growth of cheap phones that deliver expectable hardware and software set up, such as: Nexus 5, OnePlus One or Moto G series.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Largest Theft Of Apple Accounts By Malware Reported (

An anonymous reader writes: Researchers from Palo Alto and Weiptech networks have found that more than 225,000 Apple accounts have been swiped by a malware from the ‘jailbroken’ phones.

A malware called KeyRider was distributed to the Apple iOS through the jailbreaking tool Cydia and the malware was successful in stealing the certificates, account details, purchase receipts and private keys of the Apple phone users.

Submission + - Wikipedia blocks 381 user accounts for "black hat" editing

jan_jes writes: Wikipedia have announced that they have blocked 381 user accounts for “black hat” editing after weeks of investigation. The reason to block is that the accounts were engaged in undisclosed paid advocacy—the practice of accepting or charging money to promote external interests on Wikipedia without revealing their affiliation, in violation of Wikimedia’s Terms of Use. Every day, volunteer editors make thousands of edits to Wikipedia: they add reliable sources, introduce new topics, expand articles, add images, cover breaking news, fix inaccuracies, and resolve conflicts of interest. In addition to blocking the 381 “sockpuppet” accounts—a term that refers to multiple accounts used in misleading or deceptive ways—the editors deleted 210 articles created by these accounts.

Submission + - Inside China's Homegrown 64-Core ARM Big Iron Chip (

An anonymous reader writes: Phytium aspires to be a leading-edge processor and ASIC maker in the Chinese IT sector and specifically that it will be working on two classes of ARM-based processors: one aimed at scale-up machines and another one aimed at scale-out machines used in hyperscale and cloud computing. Zhang referred to the former as “mainframe servers” and the latter as “Internet servers,” which is terminology that probably sounds a bit funny to our ears because both are old-fashioned ways of describing scale up and scale out architectures. But you get the idea.

Submission + - Ad-blocker Crystal massively reduces bandwidth usage and page load times in iOS (

Mark Wilson writes: There's a lot to look forward to in iOS 9. We already know that the new version of Safari will include the option to block ads, but the browser is not going to be alone in clearing out unwanted ads. Crystal is an ad blocker for iOS 9 created "with the goal of making web browsing with the iPhone and iPad a great experience again".

It started life as a tool for testing iOS 9's own content blocker, but grew into a stand-alone project. Crystal is currently in closed public beta but its developer, Dean Murphy, has released some figures that show how effective it is. The results show that Crystal can speed up page load times by nearly four times and reduce bandwidth consumption by 53 percent. Impressive stuff, and the stats make for extremely interesting reading — particularly for those waiting for the launch of a new iPhone.

Submission + - NSA Finds New Snowden Emails (

An anonymous reader writes: Vice News has been engaged in a FOIA lawsuit against the NSA to obtain "all of the emails Snowden said he sent to agency officials that "raised concerns" about NSA surveillance". As a result of that lawsuit Vice News reports, "Snowden said the emails he wrote about "indefensible [NSA] collection activities" were sent to the NSA's Signals Intelligence (SIGNIT) Directorate Office of Oversight and Compliance, as well as to the Office of General Counsel and the Office of the Comptroller. But the NSA said it could not locate those emails. The only email that came close to what Snowden described, according to the NSA, was one he sent to the Office of General Counsel in which the whistleblower asked a question about NSA legal authorities in training materials. The NSA declassified that email last year. Last week ... a government attorney revealed for the first time that it found three emails Snowden said he sent to the NSA's Oversight and Compliance office, one of the offices that would have handled his complaints. However, those emails did not raise any questions or concerns about NSA surveillance ... "They concerned him doing his job of providing tech support to them, not raising concerns about NSA programs," ..." One is left to puzzle over Snowden's ability to obtain so much but apparently not his emails.

Submission + - How Researchers are Using a Drone to Discover Connected Devices in Austin (

pjauregui writes: A team of researchers at security company Praetorian wanted to discover how many IOT-friendly devices were being used in Austin, TX, and found that the best way to do so would be to outfit a drone with the company’s custom built connected-device tracking appliance and have it fly over the city.

As part of its Internet of Things Map Project, Praetorian released an interactive map showing the number of connected devices in Austin along with the names of device manufacturers and whether those gadgets were used in commercial, residential, or industrial zones.

It found that nearly 1,600 connected devices are being used in Austin, the majority in residential areas. From the map, you can see that that there are 453 connected Sony devices and 110 Philips Lighting connected products in Austin, making those companies the biggest suppliers of connected devices in the area.

Praetorian partnered with DroneSense, a local drone startup, in Austin for the project.

Submission + - Reddit CEO: site is "not a bastion of free speech", change coming

An anonymous reader writes: Reddit's new CEO, cofounder Steve Huffman, has made a statement regarding the site's controversial racism and abuse community "subreddits": "we don’t have any obligation to support them". In the brief announcement, Huffman explains that a robust content policy is something they have "been thinking about for quite some time" and is on the cards in the near future. It has also come to light via former CEO Tishan Wong that ousted interim boss Ellen Pao was one of the few defenders of the controversial subreddits, favouring a strategy of coexistence over the board's plan to eliminate problem communities. Wong blames another co-founder, Alexis Ohanian, for strategy changes that led to the firing of "Ask Me Anything" administrator Victoria Taylor whose unexpected absence crippled that component of the site.

Submission + - ARM Support Comes to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (

jrepin writes: SUSE announced partner program expansion to include support for 64-bit ARM server processors. This expansion makes available to partners a version of SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 that allows them to develop, test and deliver products to the market using 64-bit ARM chips. To simplify partner access, SUSE has also implemented support for ARM and AArch64 into its openSUSE Build Service. This allows the community to build packages against real 64-bit ARM hardware and the SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 binaries,

Submission + - Google Throws Teachers Under the Bus, Blames Them for Tech's Diversity Problem 1

theodp writes: Over at the Google Research Blog, Director of Education and University Relation Maggie Johnson gives the diversity-challenged search giant an attaperson for its computer science outreach efforts, but throws teachers under the bus in her list of "reasons why the pipeline for technical talent is so small and why the diversity pipeline is even smaller." Johnson writes: "Many teachers are oblivious to or support the [CS] gender stereotypes by assigning problems and projects that are oriented more toward boys, or are not of interest to girls. This lack of relevant curriculum is important. Many women who have pursued technology as a career cite relevant courses as critical to their decision." Johnson also points to an earlier Google white paper that blames parents' lack of support and encouragement for keeping many girls from considering computing as a career. In the comments, retired Stanford prof Jeffrey Ullman and others challenge the low CS/CE Bachelor's degree production figures that Google offers as evidence of a looming CS worker shortage. "There seems to be a bit of misinformation here," Ullman explains. "The 16K BS/CS figure [cited by Google] appears to be taken from the most recent (2013-4) Taulbee study. But that looks at only the PhD-granting institutions." Hey, good enough for government work!

Submission + - SourceForge Joins the Bundle Wagon

An anonymous reader writes: The irony of submitting this on /. is not lost on me.
"Apparently, SourceForge's mysterious "sf-editor1" has also claimed ownership of a number of other accounts for open source and other software projects."
SF is claiming ownership of these projects for the specious reason of them being "abandoned" when in fact these project simply stopped using SF (apparently for good reason).

Submission + - SourceForge grabs GIMP for Windows' account, wraps installer in bundle-pushing ( 1

shanehiltonward writes: SourceForge, the code repository site owned by Slashdot Media, has apparently seized control of the account hosting GIMP for Windows on the service, according to e-mails and discussions amongst members of the GIMP community—locking out GIMP's lead Windows developer. And now anyone downloading the Windows version of the open source image editing tool from SourceForge gets the software wrapped in an installer replete with advertisements.

Update: In a blog post issued shortly after this story posted, an unidentified member of SourceForge's community team wrote that, in fact, "this project was actually abandoned over 18 months ago, and SourceForge has stepped-in to keep this project current." That runs counter to claims by members of the GIMP development community.

The GIMP project is not officially distributed through SourceForge—approved releases are only posted on the GIMP project's own Web page. But Jernej Simoni, the developer who has been responsible for building Windows versions of GIMP for some time, has maintained an account on SourceForge to act as a distribution mirror. That is, he had until today, when he discovered he was locked out of the Gimp-Win account, and the project's ownership "byline" had been changed to "sf-editor1"—a SourceForge staff account. Additionally, the site now provided Gimp in an executable installer that has in-installer advertising enabled. Ars tested the downloader and found that it offered during the installation to bundle Norton anti-virus and remote backup services with GIMP—before downloading the installer authored by Simoni (his name still appears on the installer's splash screen).

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