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Cellphones

Ikea Unveils Furniture That Charges Your Smartphone Wirelessly 95

Posted by samzenpus
from the power-up dept.
pbahra writes Swedish furniture maker Ikea unveiled a new range of furniture that it says can wirelessly charge some mobile devices. The Swedish furniture giant made the announcement on Sunday at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Ikea's introduction of wireless charging functionality on some of its new furniture heats up the battle for a global wireless charging standard, of which there are currently three, all struggling to become the global leader.
Earth

Methane-Based Life Possible On Titan 69

Posted by Soulskill
from the it's-life-jim-but-not-as-we-know dept.
Randym writes: With the simultaneous announcement of a possible nitrogen-based, cell-like structure allowing life outside the "liquid water zone" (but within a methane atmosphere) announced by researchers at Cornell (academic paper) and the mystery of fluctuating methane levels on Mars raising the possibility of methane-respiring life, there now exists the possibility of a whole new branch of the tree of life that does not rely on either carbon or oxygen for respiration. We may find evidence of such life here on Earth down in the mantle where "traditional" life cannot survive, but where bacteria has evolved to live off hydrocarbons like methane and benzene.
Twitter

Twitter Adds "Report Dox" Option 101

Posted by timothy
from the better-late-than-never dept.
AmiMoJo writes Twitter announced that its abuse-report system, which was recently refined to simplify and shorten the reporting process, has now expanded to allow users to report content such as self-harm incidents and "the sharing of private and confidential information" (aka doxing). The announcement, posted by Twitter Vice President of User Services Tina Bhatnagar, explained that December's report-process update was met with a "tripling" of the site's abuse support staff, which has led to a quintupling of abuse report processing. Chat logs recently revealed how Twitter is used by small groups to create vast harassment campaigns, thanks to sock puppet account and relative anonymity.
Portables

Lenovo Saying Goodbye To Bloatware 208

Posted by Soulskill
from the time-to-start-demanding-other-vendors-follow-suit dept.
An anonymous reader writes: "Lenovo today announced that it has had enough of bloatware. The world's largest PC vendor says that by the time Windows 10 comes out, it will get rid of bloatware from its computer lineups. The announcement comes a week after the company was caught for shipping Superfish adware with its computers. The Chinese PC manufacturer has since released a public apology, Superfish removal tool, and instructions to help out users. At the sidelines, the company also announced that it is giving away 6-month free subscription to McAfee LiveSafe for all Superfish-affected users.
Education

L.A. School Superintendent Folds on Laptops-For-Kids Program 139

Posted by timothy
from the but-they-were-only-tax-dollars dept.
In an announcement yesterday reported on by Ars Technica, [Los Angeles school superintendent] Ramon C. Cortines said that the city can't afford to buy a computer for every student. The statement comes after intense controversy over a $1.3 billion initiative launched by Cortines' predecessor, former superintendent John Deasy, in which every student was supposed to be given an iPad loaded with content from educational publisher Pearson. (That controversy is worth reading about, and sparked an FBI investigation as well.)
Microsoft

How Machine Learning Ate Microsoft 96

Posted by samzenpus
from the doing-it-smarter dept.
snydeq writes Yesterday's announcement of Azure Machine Learning offers the latest sign of Microsoft's deep machine learning expertise — now available to developers everywhere, InfoWorld reports. "Machine learning has infiltrated Microsoft products from Bing to Office to Windows 8 to Xbox games. Its flashiest vehicle may be the futuristic Skype Translator, which handles two-way voice conversations in different languages. Now, with machine learning available on the Azure cloud, developers can build learning capabilities into their own applications: recommendations, sentiment analysis, fraud detection, fault prediction, and more. The idea of the new Azure offering is to democratize machine learning, so you no longer need to hire someone with a doctorate to use a machine learning algorithm."
The Internet

What Your Online Comments Say About You 267

Posted by Soulskill
from the everyone-else-is-wrong dept.
circletimessquare writes: The New York Times has a piece summarizing some recent research and recent discussion about the quality, or lack thereof, of online comments. "[Washington State University researchers] found that the comments on a public-service announcement about vaccination affected readers' attitudes as strongly as the P.S.A. itself did. When commenters were identified by their level of expertise with the subject (i.e. as doctors), their comments were more influential than the P.S.A.s. Online readers may put a lot of stock in comments because they view commenters 'as kind of similar to themselves,' said Mr. Weber — 'they're reading the same thing, commenting on the same thing.' And, he added, many readers, especially those who are less Internet-savvy, assume commenters 'know something about the subject, because otherwise they wouldn't be commenting on it.' The mere act of commenting, then, can confer an unearned aura of credibility."
Graphics

Wayland 1.7.0 Marks an Important Release 189

Posted by Soulskill
from the onward-and-upward dept.
jones_supa writes: The 1.7.0 release of Wayland is now available for download. The project thanks all who have contributed, and especially the desktop environments and client applications that now converse using Wayland. In an official announcement from Bryce Harrington of Samsung, he says the Wayland protocol may be considered 'done' but that doesn't mean there's not work to be done. A bigger importance is now given to testing, documentation, and bugfixing. As Wayland is maturing, we are also getting closer to the point where the big Linux distros will eventually start integrating it to their operating system.
Science

Scientists In China Predict Pentagonal Graphene 42

Posted by Soulskill
from the five-sides-to-every-story dept.
TechkNighT_1337 writes: Chinese scientists made calculations and predict that a new 2D allotrope of carbon based in a pentagonal form resembling a common pavement in the streets of Cairo can be synthesized. They call this new form penta-graphene. From the announcement in the Chemistry World, they say: "The team found that not only should a pentagon-containing version of graphene be fairly stable, it should also be stronger than conventional graphene and be able to withstand higher temperatures, up to 730C. It would also be a natural semiconductor, unlike conventional graphene, which is a highly efficient conductor and has to be chemically modified to turn it into a semiconductor."
Cellphones

Smartphone Theft Drops After Spread of Kill Switches 190

Posted by Soulskill
from the stated-purposes-and-unstated-purposes dept.
alphadogg writes "Thefts involving smartphones have declined dramatically in three major cities since manufacturers began implementing 'kill switches' that allow the phones to be turned off remotely if they are stolen, authorities said on Tuesday. The number of stolen iPhones dropped by 40 percent in San Francisco and 25 percent in New York in the 12 months after Apple added a kill switch to its devices in September 2013. In London, smartphone theft dropped by half, according to an announcement by officials in the three cities.
Movies

Spider-Man Finally Joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe 98

Posted by Soulskill
from the will-live-and-die-and-live-and-die-and-live-again dept.
New submitter Chas writes: After years of Marvel fans screaming for a more unified approach to the Marvel Cinematic Universe between the property-holders (Sony, Marvel, Fox), Marvel has announced that they've reached a deal with Sony to bring Spider-Man into the MCU.

From the announcement: "Under the deal, the new Spider-Man will first appear in a Marvel film from Marvel's Cinematic Universe (MCU). Sony Pictures will thereafter release the next installment of its $4 billion Spider-Man franchise, on July 28, 2017, in a film that will be co-produced by Kevin Feige and his expert team at Marvel and Amy Pascal, who oversaw the franchise launch for the studio 13 years ago. Together, they will collaborate on a new creative direction for the web slinger. Sony Pictures will continue to finance, distribute, own and have final creative control of the Spider-Man films. Marvel and Sony Pictures are also exploring opportunities to integrate characters from the MCU into future Spider-Man films."
Businesses

Radioshack Declares Bankruptcy 294

Posted by samzenpus
from the end-of-the-line dept.
gemtech writes RadioShack has declared bankruptcy today. As reported Monday, the company has struck a deal to sell up to 2,400 of its approximately 4,000 stores to Sprint. From the article: "RadioShack said the remaining stores are expected to close. The company's franchise locations, as well as stores in Mexico and Asia, are not included in the deal. The bankruptcy announcement is no surprise. The New York Stock Exchange suspended trading of its shares on Monday. And RadioShack workers have told CNNMoney that some locations have already been converted to clearance stores."
Verizon

Verizon Dropping Data Rates, But Current Customers Have To Call 136

Posted by timothy
from the oh-you-mean-you-didn't-like-getting-slammed? dept.
New submitter executioner writes with this news from Consumerist: In spite of Verizon Wireless' recent boasts that it's 'a leader, not a follower,' a new announcement from the nation's biggest wireless company shows that Big V is indeed following the competition down the path of charging customers less for their data plans. However, current Verizon subscribers will need to let the company know they want to save money (or get more data). It's a little confusing, so stick with us for a moment. Verizon MORE Everything customers who currently have monthly data allotments of 1GB, 2GB, 3GB, or 4GB will have an option on how they want to save.They can either get more data for their money by getting 1GB of additional data per month for no extra charge OR they can have their bill reduced by $10/month.So someone with a 2GB plan is currently paying $50/month. If they take the free data option, that goes to 3GB for the same price. Or they can elect to stick with the 2GB and their data bill drops to $40/month.
Facebook

Facebook Brings React Native To Native Mobile Development 78

Posted by timothy
from the reflex-hammer-writ-lare dept.
the_insult_dog writes Despite a lack of dev tools, samples, tutorials, documentation or even a blog post or press release, Facebook's announcement that it's bringing the popular React.js JavaScript library to iOS and Android native mobile development stirred up comments like "groundbreaking" and "game changing." In a series of videos from the recent React.js Conference 2015, Facebook engineers said they're rejecting the "write-once, run-anywhere pipe dream" in favor of a "learn-once, write-anywhere" paradigm. All efforts to duplicate native performance and look-and-feel actually feel like "s__t", an engineer said in explaining the company's new approach to native development in a conference keynote video. Yet to be proven, with tools in the works, it's supposedly a huge success internally at Facebook and experts said the new approach could shake up the whole mobile dev industry.
Google

New Google Security Reward Program Announcement 32

Posted by samzenpus
from the new-rules dept.
jones_supa writes Since 2010, Security Reward Programs have been one cornerstone of Google's relationship with the security research community. In 2014, the company rewarded 200 different researchers with a total amount of $1.5 million. Google wants to celebrate the participants' contributions to the company, and in turn, their contributions back to the researchers. For 2015, two additions to the programs are being announced. It has been noted that researchers' efforts through these programs, combined with Google's internal security work, have made it increasingly difficult to find bugs. Of course, that's good news, but it can also be discouraging when researchers invest their time and struggle to find issues. With this in mind, today Google is rolling out a new, experimental program: Vulnerability Research Grants. These are up-front awards that will be provided to researchers before they even submit a bug. To learn more about the current grants, and review your eligibility, have a look at the rules page. Second, also starting today, all mobile applications officially developed by Google on Google Play and iTunes will now be within the scope of the Vulnerability Reward Program.
Networking

Ask Slashdot: When and How Did Europe Leapfrog the US For Internet Access? 495

Posted by timothy
from the granpa-tell-us-a-story dept.
New submitter rsanford, apropos of today's FCC announcement about what is officially consided "broadband" speed by that agency, asks In the early and middle 90's I recall spending countless hours on IRC 'Trout-slapping' people in #hottub and engaging in channel wars. The people from Europe were always complaining about how slow their internet was and there was no choice. This was odd to me, who at the time had 3 local ISPs to choose from, all offering the fastest modem connections at the time, while living in rural America 60 miles away from the nearest city with 1,000 or more people. Was that the reality back then? If so, what changed, and when?
Windows

Surface RT Devices Won't Get Windows 10 158

Posted by Soulskill
from the take-that-early-adopters dept.
whoever57 writes: In its announcement of Windows 10, Microsoft indicated not all devices would get the updated operating system. Now, Microsoft says its Surface devices running Windows RT won't be receiving full updates, though it does plan to roll some new functionality into them. "Given that Windows RT and RT 8.1 were designed for power economizing devices sporting 32-bit ARM architecture, and never had the same functionality — to many users' frustration — as full-blown Windows 8 and 8.1, it comes as little surprise that the RT versions of the operating system should be left out of the latest update loop. In fact, a week before Microsoft's big Windows 10 reveal on January 21, the company released firmware updates for all three models of its Intel-powered Surface Pro series, but neither of the ARM-based Surface tablets — the Surface 2 or Surface RT — received any new updates this month." The Surface Pro line of tablets, which run a normal version of Windows, will be getting an update to Windows 10.
Windows

Microsoft Announces Office 2016 and Office For Windows 10 Coming Later This Year 148

Posted by samzenpus
from the coming-soon dept.
An anonymous reader writes At its Windows 10 event yesterday, Microsoft unveiled the touch-optimized version of Office. Today, the company offered more details about that version, and then snuck in another announcement: the next desktop version is under development, it is called Office 2016, and it will be generally available "in the second half of 2015." Office for Windows 10 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook), meanwhile, is also slated to arrive later this year, though Microsoft has shared more about it and plans to offer a preview in the coming weeks. These new Office apps will be pre-installed (they will be free) on smartphones and small tablets running Windows 10. They will also be available to download from the Windows Store for other devices.
Government

Russia Says Drivers Must Not Have "Sex Disorders" To Get License 412

Posted by samzenpus
from the right-to-drive dept.
mrspoonsi writes Russia has listed transsexual and transgender people among those who will no longer qualify for driving licenses. Fetishism, exhibitionism and voyeurism are also included as "mental disorders" now barring people from driving. The government says it is tightening medical controls for drivers because Russia has too many road accidents. "Pathological" gambling and compulsive stealing are also on the list. Russian psychiatrists and human rights lawyers have condemned the move. The announcement follows international complaints about Russian harassment of gay-rights activists.