Computers & Linux News

Amazon Wants To Curb Selling 'CRaP' Items it Can't Profit On, Like Bottled Water and Snacks: Report

SlashDot - 1 hour 1 min ago
Amazon is rethinking its strategy around some items it sells which it calls internally "Can't realize a profit" -- or "CRaP" for short, according to the Wall Street Journal. From the report: Inside Amazon, the items are known as CRaP, short for "Can't Realize a Profit." Think bottled beverages or snack foods [Editor's note: the link may be paywalled; alternative source]. The products tend to be priced at $15 or less, are sold directly by Amazon, and are heavy or bulky and therefore costly to ship -- characteristics that make for thin or nonexistent margins. Now, as Amazon focuses more on its bottom line in addition to its rapid growth, it is increasingly taking aim at CRaP products, according to major brand executives and people familiar with the company's thinking. In recent months, it has been eliminating unprofitable items and pressing manufacturers to change their packaging to better sell online, according to brands that sell on Amazon and consultants who work with them. One example: bottled water from Coca-Cola Co. Amazon used to have a $6.99 six-pack of Smartwater as the default order on some of its Dash buttons, a small device that allows for automatic reordering with a single press. But in August, after working with Coca-Cola to change how it ships and sells the water, Amazon notified Dash customers it was changing that default item to a 24-pack for $37.20.

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Emergence of Lab-Grown Meat Poses New Questions for Religious Leaders

SlashDot - 1 hour 52 min ago
Lab-grown meat is becoming closer to a reality. But this new technology poses new questions for people who typically avoid meat for religious or ethical reasons. An anonymous reader shares a report: Lab-grown meat has sparked a debate among rabbis in Israel about whether cell-cultured is the same as conventional meat and should fall under the same guidelines for keeping kosher. "There is a disagreement about it and there is a conversation. Also, definitely, there are new questions about lab-meat," says Rabbi Yuval Cherlow, an expert on kosher tradition and bioethics. WSJ has posted a video in which you can hear more from Rabbi Cherlow.

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Google To Invest $1 Billion in New Campus in New York City

SlashDot - 2 hours 32 min ago
Google will invest $1 billion in a new campus in New York City, the company said Monday. From a report: The new 1.7 million square foot "Google Hudson Square" campus will include two buildings located at 315 and 345 Hudson Street and an office space situated at nearby 550, Washington Street in Manhattan, Google said in a blog post on Monday. The move will expand Google's presence near the Hudson River in New York City. Earlier this year, the search giant announced it had purchased shopping and office complex Chelsea Market for $2.4 billion. Google said the Hudson Square campus will be the main location for its New York-based global business organization. It said the investments in Chelsea and Hudson Square will create capacity to more than double headcount in New York over the next decade. Google currently houses more than 7,000 employees in New York City in a range of teams including Search, Ads, Maps, YouTube and Cloud. "Our investment in New York is a huge part of our commitment to grow and invest in U.S. facilities, offices and jobs," Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat said in the blog post. Unlike Amazon, Google did not pursue tax breaks or other incentives from New York.

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2019 Lincoln Continental Coach Door Edition gets the slammers it should have always had - Roadshow

CNET News - 3 hours 7 min ago
This special-edition Lincoln with center-opening doors will make you feel as though you're in the opening credits of Entourage.

The best video games of 2018 - CNET

CNET News - 3 hours 12 min ago
CNET staff compile our top 12 favorite games of 2018, and highlight personal favorites you should definitely play.

I was wrong about the Motorola Razr - CNET

CNET News - 3 hours 31 min ago
Long before the iPhone or the Samsung Galaxy phone were hits, a thinner, less-powerful phone was all the rage. I failed to see just how popular the Motorola Razr would be.

Gritty is the internet mascot for a world that's broken in 2018 - CNET

CNET News - 3 hours 31 min ago
Commentary: 2018 was a hot mess of privacy breaches, hacking and Silicon Valley failures. But now we have a guardian angel to guide us through the carnage: a gyrating fuzz monster called Gritty.

Designing an icon: How Motorola created the Razr V3 - CNET

CNET News - 3 hours 31 min ago
The co-designer of the original Razr explains how the team came up with the first cell phone deemed sexy.

Taylor Swift Used Facial Recognition Tech At Concerts To Spy On Stalkers

SlashDot - 3 hours 32 min ago
AmiMoJo shares a report: Taylor Swift used facial recognition technology at her live performances so that technicians running the system could then check those face scans against a private database of her stalkers. There is now big demand for serious security at live events the size of a Taylor Swift concert. There have been so many bombings and mass shootings at music concerts over the past year to even remember without Googling. Fear of being killed at a music concert is something people factor in to the decision to buy tickets and go to live events. The demand for security is real.

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The best games of 2018 - CNET

CNET News - 4 hours 15 min ago
CNET editors pick the top must-have games of the year.

The Decline of American Peyote

SlashDot - 6 hours 22 min ago
dmoberhaus writes: An investigation into the decline of America's peyote, a hallucinogenic cactus that is critically important to the rituals of the Native American Church, the largest pan-tribal religious organization in the U.S. Motherboard spoke with Dawn Davis, a researcher using satellite data to track the destruction of peyote's habitat, as well as Salvador Johnson, one of only four people who is licensed to harvest and sell peyote in the U.S. by the DEA. "In 2011, Davis traveled to the peyote gardens for the first time and met with Johnson," reports Motherboard. "Davis said that Johnson was following many conservation best practices, such as cycling through the areas where peyote is harvested, but this hadn't slowed the steady decrease in the size and quantity of peyote buttons in his harvests. Today, the biggest threats to peyote continue to be rapid land development, poaching, and rooting by feral pigs -- problems that responsible harvesting by peyoteros can't solve." While there has been an increase in the number of indigenous people growing peyote in greenhouses, this is only a temporary solution to the conservation crisis. Davis is advocating for conservation easements or tax breaks for landowners to encourage the protection of peyote. She also said it will be necessary to push for the DEA to reschedule peyote, which is still considered a Schedule I substance that has "no currently accepted medical use." This makes it exceedingly hard for individuals to become licensed peyoteros.

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Bing Recommends Piracy Tutorial When Searching For Office 2019

SlashDot - 9 hours 25 min ago
aafrn writes: Microsoft is sending users who search for Office 2019 download links via its Bing search engine to a website that teaches them the basics about pirating the company's Office suite. This happens every time users search for the term "office 2019 download" on Bing. The result is a Bing search card (highlighted search results) that links to a piracy tutorial that teaches users how to install uTorrent, download a torrent file, and install an Office crack file. Fortunately, the torrent download links are down, but experts believe the link was used to spread malware.

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A Bright Green 'Christmas Comet' Will Fly the Closest To Earth In Centuries

SlashDot - 11 hours 27 min ago
On Sunday night, a comet that orbits between Jupiter and the sun will make its closest approach to Earth in centuries. According to Tony Farnham, a research scientist in the astronomy department at the University of Maryland, the comet will appear as a bright, fuzzy ball with a greenish-gray tint. "You've got a one-kilometer solid nuclear in the middle, and gas is going out hundreds of thousands of miles," says Tony. The comet glows green because the gases emit light in green wavelengths. The New York Times reports: The ball of gas and dust, sometimes referred to as the "Christmas comet," was named 46P/Wirtanen, after the astronomer Carl Wirtanen, who discovered it in 1948. It orbits the sun once every 5.4 years, passing by Earth approximately every 11 years, but its distance varies and it is rarely this close. As the comet passes by, it will be 30 times farther from Earth than the moon, NASA said. The proximity of 46P/Wirtanen provides an opportunity to research the tail of the comet and see farther into the nucleus. The comet is visible now but it will shine even brighter on Sunday as it reaches its closest approach, 7.1 million miles from Earth. That may sound really far, but it is among the 10 closest approaches by a comet in 70 years, NASA said. Only a few of those could be seen with the naked eye. Don't worry if you miss the comet on Sunday. It should be just as visible for a week or two because its appearance will change gradually. After it moves on, it won't be this close to Earth again for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Online charts can help pinpoint its location.

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Cydia's App Store For Jailbroken iPhones Shuts Down Purchases

SlashDot - Sun, 2018-12-16 22:33
Cydia, the App Store for jailbroken devices, is shutting down purchases as its creator moves to shut down the store entirely in the near future. "Cydia's creator Saurik made the announcement on Reddit after a bug was discovered in the platform that may have put user data at risk," iPhonehacks reports. "This bug prompted Saurik to clarify the issue and reveal that he has been planning on shutting down Cydia for quite a while now." From the report: The founder clarifies that the bug only puts a limited number of users at risk who are logged into Cydia and browse a repository with untrusted content -- a scenario which Saurik has strongly advised against right from day one. Plus, he also says that this is not a data leak and he has not lost access to PayPal authorization tokens. Coming to the harsh reality, Saurik says that he has been looking to shut down Cydia Store before the end of this year. The reports of a data leak have acted as a catalyst to bring the timetable further up. There are multiple reasons as to why he is looking to shut down the service including the fact that he has to pay for the hefty hosting bills from his own pocket. Saurik has already gone ahead and shut down the ability to buy jailbreak tweaks in Cydia. This means that one can no longer use the Cydia Store to buy jailbreak tweaks on a jailbroken iPhone. On the bright side, Saurik does intend to allow users to download jailbreak tweaks that they have already paid for. Saurik will also make a more formal announcement about the shutting down of Cydia sometime soon. Do note that this change relates only to Cydia Store and not Cydia the installer which is used to install tweaks on a jailbroken device. The latter will continue to work as usual.

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Enter to win* a Lego Bugatti Chiron kit! - Roadshow

CNET News - Sun, 2018-12-16 22:17
We're giving away a Lego Technic: Bugatti Chiron model kit for one lucky follower. This sweepstakes ends Dec. 16, 2018.

Samsung Kills Headphone Jack After Mocking Apple

SlashDot - Sun, 2018-12-16 20:31
Last week, Samsung introduced its latest smartphone, the Galaxy A8s. Not only is it the first phone of theirs with a laser-drilled hole in the display for the front-facing camera sensor, but it is also their first phone to ditch the headphone jack. Slashdot reader TheFakeTimCook shares a report from Mac Rumors that takes a closer look at the move and the hypocrisy behind it: [The A8s] is also Samsung's first smartphone without a headphone jack, much to the amusement of iPhone users, as Samsung has mocked Apple for over two years over its decision to remove the headphone jack from the iPhone 7 in 2016, a trend that has continued through to the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. While on stage unveiling the new Galaxy Note 7 in 2016, for example, Samsung executive Justin Denison made sure to point out that the device came with a headphone jack. "Want to know what else it comes with?" he asked. "An audio jack. I'm just saying," he answered, smirking as the audience laughed. And earlier this year, Samsung mocked the iPhone X's lack of a headphone jack in one of its "Ingenius" ads promoting the Galaxy S9. Samsung isn't the first tech giant to mock Apple's decision to remove the headphone jack, only to follow suit. Google poked fun at the iPhone 7's lack of headphone jack while unveiling its original Pixel smartphone in 2016, and then the Pixel 2 launched without one just a year later.

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Senate report said to show extent of Russian interference in 2016 US election - CNET

CNET News - Sun, 2018-12-16 19:05
Report shows Russian agents sought to secure Trump win.

50 Years On, We're Living the Reality First Shown At the 'Mother of All Demos'

SlashDot - Sun, 2018-12-16 18:23
Thelasko quotes a report from Ars Technica: A half century ago, computer history took a giant leap when Douglas Engelbart -- then a mid-career 43-year-old engineer at Stanford Research Institute in the heart of Silicon Valley -- gave what has come to be known as the "mother of all demos." On December 9, 1968 at a computer conference in San Francisco, Engelbart showed off the first inklings of numerous technologies that we all now take for granted: video conferencing, a modern desktop-style user interface, word processing, hypertext, the mouse, collaborative editing, among many others. Even before his famous demonstration, Engelbart outlined his vision of the future more than a half-century ago in his historic 1962 paper, "Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework." To open the 90-minute-long presentation, Engelbart posited a question that almost seems trivial to us in the early 21st century: "If in your office, you as an intellectual worker were supplied with a computer display, backed up by a computer that was alive for you all day, and was instantly responsible -- responsive -- to every action you had, how much value would you derive from that?" By 1968, Engelbart had created what he called the "oN-Line System," or NLS, a proto-Intranet. The ARPANET, the predecessor to the Internet itself, would not be established until late the following year.

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How YouTube's Year-In-Review 'Rewind' Video Set Off a Civil War

SlashDot - Sun, 2018-12-16 16:21
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The New York Times: You might guess that a surefire way to make a hit video on YouTube would be to gather a bunch of YouTube megastars, film them riffing on some of the year's most popular YouTube themes and release it as a year-in-review spectacular. You would be wrong. YouTube tested that theory this week, releasing its annual "YouTube Rewind" year-end retrospective. The eight-minute video was a jam-packed montage of YouTube meta-humor, featuring a who's-who of YouTube stars along with conventional celebrities. The video was slickly produced and wholesome, with lots of references to the popular video game Fortnite, shout-outs to popular video formats, and earnest paeans to YouTube's diversity and inclusiveness. It was meant to be a feel-good celebration of a year's worth of YouTube creativity, but the video started a firestorm, and led to a mass-downvoting campaign that became a meme of its own. Within 48 hours, the video had been "disliked" more than four million times. On Thursday, it became the most-disliked video in the history of the website, gathering more than 10 million dislikes and beating out the previous record-holder, the music video for Justin Bieber's "Baby." The issue that upset so many YouTube fans, it turns out, was what the Rewind video did not show. Many of the most notable YouTube moments of the year -- such as the August boxing match between KSI and Logan Paul, two YouTube stars who fought in a highly publicized spectacle watched by millions -- went unmentioned. And some prominent YouTubers were absent, including Felix Kjellberg, a.k.a. "PewDiePie," one of the most popular creators in YouTube's history, who had appeared in the Rewind videos as recently as 2016. Some YouTubers enjoyed the video. But to many, it felt like evidence that YouTube the company was snubbing YouTube the community by featuring mainstream celebrities in addition to the platform's homegrown creators, and by glossing over major moments in favor of advertiser-friendly scenes. The Times says the Rewind controversy "is indicative of a larger issue at YouTube, which is trying to promote itself as a bastion of cool, inclusive creativity while being accused of radicalizing a generation of young people by pushing them toward increasingly extreme content, and allowing reactionary cranks and conspiracy theorists to dominate its platform." "But people like Mr. Kjellberg and Mr. Paul -- stars who rose to prominence through YouTube, and still garner tens of millions of views every month -- remain in a kind of dysfunctional relationship with the platform. YouTube doesn't want to endorse their behavior in its official promotions, but it doesn't want to alienate their large, passionate audiences, either," reports the NYT. "And since no other platform can rival the large audiences and earning potential YouTube gives these creators, they are stuck in a kind of unhappy purgatory -- making aggrieved videos about how badly YouTube has wronged them, while also tiptoeing to avoid crossing any lines that might get them barred, or prevent them from making money from their videos." This tension is at the heart of the controversy over YouTube Rewind. "A YouTube recap that includes only displays of tolerance and pluralism is a little like a Weather Channel highlight reel featuring only footage of sunny days -- it might be more pleasant to look at, but it doesn't reflect the actual weather..."

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Instagram Tightens Eating Disorder Filters

SlashDot - Sun, 2018-12-16 15:20
AmiMoJo shares a report from the BBC: Instagram has placed more hashtags which could promote eating disorders on an "unsearchable" list after a BBC investigation found that users were finding ways around the platform's filters. The photo-sharing network has also added health warnings to several alternative spellings or terms which reference eating disorders, some of which are popular hashtags on the platform. BBC Trending found that certain terms promoting bulimia were still searchable - and that the Instagram search bar was suggesting alternative spellings and phrasings for known terms which some see as glamorizing or encouraging eating disorders In one case, the search box offered 38 alternative spellings of a popular term. Starting in 2012, the photo-sharing site started to make some terms unsearchable, to avoid users being able to navigate directly to often shocking images, and posts that promote the idea that eating disorders are a lifestyle choice rather than a mental illness. If someone enters the unsearchable terms into the platform's search box, no results will come up. An Instagram spokesperson said in a statement: "We do not tolerate content that encourages eating disorders and we use powerful tools and technologies -- including in-app reporting and machine learning -- to help identify and remove it. However, we recognize this is a complex issue and we want people struggling with their mental health to be able to access support on Instagram when and where they need it."

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