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Arro Taxi App Arrives In NYC As 'Best Hope' Against Uber

Slashdot - Sat, 29/08/2015 - 11:02am
An anonymous reader writes with a report at The Stack that "New York City cabs have begun testing a new app-based taxi system in an attempt to win back customers lost to Uber and Lyft." The app is called Arro, and is being trialled in about 7,000 New York cabs. It sticks with metered prices, rather than the demand-based price increases that Uber institutes for times of peak demand. With so many cabs on the road already, the makers boast that Arro will outpace Uber soon. At least based on my limited experience with each, real competition with Uber or Lyft would require some seminars on good customer service.

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Black and blue: The rise of the riotous Richard Pryor

El Reg - Sat, 29/08/2015 - 11:01am
Paradigm puncher ... Is It Something I Said? hits 40

Feature  Readers are advised that a number of the video clips featured in this article contain colourful language of a NSFW nature.

FORKING BitcoinXT: Is it really a coup or just more crypto-FUD?

El Reg - Sat, 29/08/2015 - 9:00am
Let's unleash a new craptocurrency

Something for the Weekend, Sir?  Bitcoin is about to fork off. Too forking right, some of you may cheer. But a great many Bitcoin “users” – miners, developers, retailers and spenders – are against the idea. If you ask them about it, they’ll tell you they don’t like being forked about. Some of them say they couldn’t be forked.…

John Conway: All Play and No Work For a Genius

Slashdot - Sat, 29/08/2015 - 8:42am
An anonymous reader points out Quanta's spotlight piece on mathematician John Conway, whose best known mathematical contribution is probably his "Game of Life," which has inspired many a screensaver and more than a few computer science careers. From the article: Based at Princeton University, though he found fame at Cambridge (as a student and professor from 1957 to 1987), John Horton Conway, 77, claims never to have worked a day in his life. Instead, he purports to have frittered away reams and reams of time playing. Yet he is Princeton's John von Neumann Professor in Applied and Computational Mathematics (now emeritus). He's a fellow of the Royal Society. And he is roundly praised as a genius. "The word 'genius' gets misused an awful lot," said Persi Diaconis, a mathematician at Stanford University. "John Conway is a genius. And the thing about John is he'll think about anything. He has a real sense of whimsy. You can't put him in a mathematical box."

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How Close Are We, Really, To Nuclear Fusion?

Slashdot - Sat, 29/08/2015 - 5:55am
StartsWithABang writes: The ultimate dream when it comes to clean, green, safe, abundant energy is nuclear fusion. The same process that powers the core of the Sun could also power everything on Earth millions of times over, if only we could figure out how to reach that breakeven point. Right now, we have three different candidates for doing so: inertial confinement, magnetic confinement, and magnetized target fusion. Recent advances have all three looking promising in various ways, making one wonder why we don't spend more resources towards achieving the holy grail of energy.

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Kenya's iHub Creates Accelerator Program For Tech-Hardware Entrepreneurs

Slashdot - Sat, 29/08/2015 - 3:06am
An anonymous reader writes: The iHub in Nairobi has long been at the epicentre of tech developments in Africa, and has been lauded by both Barack Obama and Satya Nadella in recent weeks. It currently has about 3000 software devs registered as members, but since last year has been building a makerspace for hardware entrepreneurs, too. Gearbox, as its called, it's just launched its first incubation program with the backing of Village Capital, offering $100,000 in investment opportunities for 12 entrepreneurs through a three month program. According to the organisers, it's the first of its kind on the continent. (It's certainly not the first hackerspace in Africa, though -- even in 2012, there were quite a few.)

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A Look At the World's First Virtual Reality Theme Park

Slashdot - Sat, 29/08/2015 - 12:19am
redletterdave writes: The Void is the first company to create a virtual reality theme park, where virtual experiences are layered on top of physical, real world environments. Tech Insider was the first media outlet to visit The Void's headquarters in Utah, filming the company's first creations. These experiences are still far from final, but the footage is impressive and entertaining. This is not Lazer Tag.

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NVIDIA 352.41 Driver Brings New GPU Support & Fixes

Phoronix - Sat, 29/08/2015 - 12:06am
The latest stable update to the NVIDIA 352 Linux driver series is now available, for those not riding the current NVIDIA 355 driver series...

Croatian Party Advocates Government Adoption of Open Source

Slashdot - Fri, 28/08/2015 - 11:27pm
An anonymous reader writes: Earlier this year, Croatian political party Sustainable Development of Croatia (ORaH) published a new policy that encourages the government to pursue open source solutions, addresses the dangers of vendor lock-in, and insists on open document standards. Best of all, they did it the open source way. In this article on Opensource.com, Croatian startup founder Josip Almasi highlights some of the policy's implications, as well as why it could matter in the upcoming election.

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Harshest Penalty for Alleged Rapist Was For Using a Computer To Arrange Contact With Teen

Slashdot - Fri, 28/08/2015 - 11:03pm
An anonymous reader writes: Today in a nationally publicized case, an alleged rapist from a fairly elite boarding school was convicted of a number of related misdemeanors, but the jury did not find him guilty of rape. According to the New York Times, his lone felony conviction was "using a computer to lure a minor." In effect, a criminal was convicted of multiple misdemeanors, including sexual penetration of a child, but the biggest penalty he faces is a felony record and years in jail because he used a computer to contact the child, rather than picking her up at a coffee shop, meeting her at a party, or hiring a fifteen-year-old prostitute. Prosecutors have these "using a computer" charges as an additional quiver in their bow, but should we really be making it a felony to use a computer for non-computer-related crime when there is no underlying felony conviction?

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Company in shambles, marriages ruined. My work here is done, says Ashley Madison CEO

El Reg - Fri, 28/08/2015 - 10:33pm
Noel Biderman quits hacked biz

Noel Biderman has quit as chief exec of Avid Life Media, the parent of adultery website Ashley Madison. If you can't think why, or don't know what Ashley Madison is by now, then you must have been living under a rock for the past month – and we'd be grateful if you could let us join you.…

Uber Hires Hackers Who Remotely Killed a Jeep

Slashdot - Fri, 28/08/2015 - 10:20pm
An anonymous reader writes: The past several weeks have been rife with major vulnerabilities in modern cars, but none were so dramatic as when Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek tampered with the systems on a moving Jeep Cherokee. Now, Miller and Valasek have left their jobs to join a research laboratory for Uber. It's the same lab that became home for a number of autonomous vehicle experts poached from Carnegie Mellon University. From the article: "As Uber plunges more deeply into developing or adapting self-driving cars, Miller and Valasek could help the company make that technology more secure. Uber envisions autonomous cars that could someday replace its hundreds of thousands of contract drivers. The San Francisco company has gone to top-tier universities and research centers to build up this capability."

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Amazon Developing TV Series Based On Galaxy Quest

Slashdot - Fri, 28/08/2015 - 9:39pm
An anonymous reader writes: Entertainment Weekly reports that Amazon Studios is developing a TV show based on Galaxy Quest, the 1999 film that parodied classic sci-fi shows like Star Trek. In the movie, actors for a Trek-like show were conscripted by real aliens to help run a starship and negotiate peace with a mortal enemy. The actors had no idea what to do, of course, and ended up getting help from the most rabid fans of their show. The new TV show is still in early stages of development. It's unlikely that the original Galaxy Quest cast will return — it starred Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, and Sam Rockwell, to name a few. However, several important members of the production crew will return: "The film's co-writer Robert Gordon will pen the script and executive produce the pilot. The film's director Dean Parisot will direct and executive produce. And executive producers Mark Johnson and Melissa Bernstein are on board as well." The show is a ways off, yet — they haven't even been greenlit for a pilot episode — but it'd be a welcome addition to today's sci-fi TV offerings

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Baltimore lawyers vow to review 2,000 FBI Stingray snoop cases

El Reg - Fri, 28/08/2015 - 9:11pm
Why yes, we do bill by the hour... why do you ask?

Defense attorneys in Baltimore, US, are planning to reexamine 2,000 police arrests made with the assistance of Stingray – the cellphone surveillance equipment that identifies and logs mobile device owners within range.…

Symantec Researchers Find 49 New Modules of Regin Spying Tool

Slashdot - Fri, 28/08/2015 - 8:57pm
itwbennett writes: Security researchers from Symantec have identified 49 more modules (bringing the total number found so far to 75) of the sophisticated Regin cyberespionage platform that many believe is used by the U.S. National Security Agency and its close allies. Some of the modules implement basic malware functions, while other modules are much more specialized and built with specific targets in mind. 'One module was designed to monitor network traffic to Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) web servers, another was observed collecting administration traffic for mobile telephony base station controllers, while another was created specifically for parsing mail from Exchange databases,' the Symantec researchers said in an updated version of their white paper (PDF) published Thursday.

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Ten Dropbox Engineers Build BSD-licensed, Lossless 'Pied Piper' Compression Algorithm

Slashdot - Fri, 28/08/2015 - 8:15pm
An anonymous reader writes: In Dropbox's "Hack Week" this year, a team of ten engineers built the fantasy Pied Piper algorithm from HBO's Silicon Valley, achieving 13% lossless compression on Mobile-recorded H.264 videos and 22% on arbitrary JPEG files. Their algorithm can return the compressed files to their bit-exact values. According to FastCompany, "Its ability to compress file sizes could actually have tangible, real-world benefits for Dropbox, whose core business is storing files in the cloud."The code is available on GitHub under a BSD license for people interested in advancing the compression or archiving their movie files.

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Associated Press sues FBI for impersonating its site to install spyware

El Reg - Fri, 28/08/2015 - 8:01pm
Meanwhile, the EFF learns: in Russia, government malware pwns you!

The Associated Press is suing the FBI over allegations government agents used a fake news story to plant malware on the PCs of suspected criminals.…

Microsoft Builds Open-Source Browser Using HTML, JavaScript, and CSS

Slashdot - Fri, 28/08/2015 - 7:30pm
An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft's new browser, Edge, has a new rendering engine, EdgeHTML. Like Edge, the new rendering engine is only available in Windows 10, but it does more than just power the company's new browser: It's also readily available to developers. To show off what EdgeHTML can do, Microsoft has built a browser using predominantly JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. Next, the company released the browser on the Windows Store and the sample code on GitHub.

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Drum roll, please .... Results are in for the collective noun for security vulns

El Reg - Fri, 28/08/2015 - 6:51pm
It's a fix! A security fix!

We've closed the poll, and the results for our attempts to weed out candidates for a collective noun for security vulnerabilities are in.…

Ashley Madison CEO Steps Down, Reporter Finds Clues To Hacker's Identity

Slashdot - Fri, 28/08/2015 - 6:48pm
Dave Knott writes: Following the recent hacks on the infidelity website Ashley Madison, Noel Biderman has stepped down as CEO of both AshleyMadison.com and its parent company. Avid Life Media Inc., the company that owns the site and many others, announced Biderman's move in a short press release on Friday: "Noel Biderman, in mutual agreement with the company, is stepping down as chief executive officer of Avid Life Media Inc. (ALM) and is no longer with the company. Until the appointment of a new CEO, the company will be led by the existing senior management team." Before the data hack, the company was planning an IPO in London that would have taken in as much as $200 million from investors. According to regulatory filings, the company had $115 million in revenue last year, more than four times the amount it obtained in 2009. Meanwhile, in related news, Brian Krebs (the reporter who first uncovered the hack) says he has uncovered clues to the possible identity of the hacker. Krebs says he noticed the Twitter account operated by a known hacker recently posted a link to Ashley Madison's stolen proprietary source code before it was made public. Intrigued by the poster's apparent access, he examined the account's posting history and noticed a predilection for the music of Australian hard rock band AC/DC. This jibes with the behavior of the hacker(s), who had displayed threatening messages on the computers of Ashley Madison employees, accompanied by AC/DC song Thunderstruck. In a series of tweets, the owner of the account, one Thadeus Zu, appears to deny that he was behind the hack, and indeed makes several suggestions that the account itself isn't even run by one person, but is instead an amalgam of like-minded digital vigilantes. The NY Times also reports that people whose details were contained in the leak are beginning to face threats of blackmail.

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