Tech News Feed

Google Says 64 Percent of Chrome Traffic On Android Now Protected With HTTPS, 75 Percent On Mac, 66 Percent On Windows

SlashDot - Fri, 2017-10-20 19:20
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Google's push to make the web more secure by flagging sites using insecure HTTP connections appears to be working. The company announced today that 64 percent of Chrome traffic on Android is now protected, up 42 percent from a year ago. In addition, over 75 percent of Chrome traffic on both ChromeOS and Mac is now protected, up from 60 percent on Mac and 67 percent on ChromeOS a year ago. Windows traffic is up to 66 percent from 51 percent. Google also notes that 71 of the top 100 websites now use HTTPS by default, up from 37 percent a year ago. In the U.S., HTTPS usage in Chrome is up from 59 percent to 73 percent. Combined, these metrics paint a picture of fairly rapid progress in the switchover to HTTPS. This is something that Google has been heavily pushing by flagging and pressuring sites that hadn't yet adopted HTTPS.

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Q Acoustics brings $350 soundbase and $6000 speakers into the world - CNET

CNET News - Fri, 2017-10-20 18:49
Q Acoustics has announced its first sound base with HDMI, the M2, while also announcing an new sound bar and high-end floorstanders.

Arkansas Will Pay Up To $1,000 Cash To Kids Who Pass AP Computer Science A Exam

SlashDot - Fri, 2017-10-20 18:40
theodp writes: The State of Arkansas will be handing out cash to high school students who pass an Advanced Placement test in computer science. "The purpose of the incentive program is to increase the number of qualifying scores (3, 4, or 5) on Advanced Placement Computer Science A exams," explained a press release for the Arkansas Advanced Placement Computer Science A Incentive Program (only 87 Arkansas public school students passed the AP CS A exam in 2016, according to College Board data). Gov. Asa Hutchinson added, "The Arkansas Department of Education's incentive for high scores on the AP Computer Science A exam is a terrific way to reward our students for their hard work in school. The real payoff for their hard work, of course, is when they show their excellent transcripts to potential employers who offer good salaries for their skills." The tiered monetary awards call for public school students receiving a top score of 5 on the AP CS A exam to receive $1,000, with another $250 going to their schools. Scores of 4 will earn students $750 and schools $150, while a score of 3 will result in a $250 payday for students and $50 for their schools. The program evokes memories of the College Board's Google-funded AP STEM Access program, which rewarded AP STEM teachers with a $100 DonorsChoose.org gift card for each student who received a 3, 4, or 5 on an AP exam. DonorsChoose.org credits were also offered later by tech-bankrolled Code.org and Google to teachers who got their students coding.

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Project Loon's LTE balloons are floating over Puerto Rico

Engadget - Fri, 2017-10-20 18:33
About a month after Hurricane Maria's devastating landfall on Puerto Rico, and a couple of weeks after the FCC gave clearance, Project Loon is bringing wireless internet to people on the island. Part of (Google parent company) Alphabet's X innovation...

Apple gets sued over Animoji trademark - CNET

CNET News - Fri, 2017-10-20 18:21
A Japanese company says it claimed the rights to animated emoji before Apple did.

Body Camera Giant Wants Police To Collect Your Videos Too

SlashDot - Fri, 2017-10-20 18:00
tedlistens shares a report from Fast Company: Axon, the police supplier formerly known as Taser and now a leading maker of police body cameras, has also charged into police software with a service that allows police to manage and eventually analyze increasingly large caches of video, like a Dropbox for cops. Now it wants to add the public's video to the mix. An online tool called Citizen, set to launch later this year, will allow police to solicit the public for photos or video in the aftermath of suspected crimes and ingest them into Axon's online data platform. Todd Basche, Axon's executive vice president for worldwide products, said the tool was designed after the company conducted surveys of police customers and the public and found that potentially valuable evidence was not being collected. "They all pointed us to the need to collect evidence that's out there in the community." [But] systems like Citizen still raise new privacy and policy questions, and could test the limits of already brittle police-community relations. Would Citizen, for instance, also be useful for gathering civilian evidence of incidents of police misconduct or brutality? [And how would ingesting citizen video into online police databases, like Axon's Evidence.com, allow police to mine it later for suspicious activity, in a sort of dragnet fashion?] "It all depends," says one observer, "on how agencies use the tool."

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Movie 'sanitizer' VidAngel files for bankruptcy

Engadget - Fri, 2017-10-20 17:45
Back in 2016, Hollywood studios were able to stop VidAngel from streaming sanitized versions of blockbuster hits, claiming that its system for doing so was covered under the Family Movie Act of 2005. The injunction, which VidAngel promised to appeal,...

Twitter Plans To End Revenge Porn Next Week, Hate Speech In Two

SlashDot - Fri, 2017-10-20 17:20
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: In the beginning of 2017, Twitter said it would take on harassment and hate speech. CEO Jack Dorsey said the company would embrace a "completely new approach to abuse on Twitter" with open dialogue along the way. For months, though, the company has offered few details about what it would do, or when. That changed late yesterday, when Twitter posted a timeline with specific promises on actions it will take. The changes begin next week. On October 27, Twitter will expand what types of "non-consensual nudity" (aka "revenge porn") that it takes action against. The company will already act when a victim complains, but Twitter will soon act even in cases where the victims may not be aware images were taken, instances like upskirt photos and hidden webcams. "Anyone we identify as the original poster of non-consensual nudity will be suspended immediately," the October entry reads. On November 3, Twitter will ban hate imagery in profile headers and avatars, and the service will start suspending accounts "for organizations that use violence to advance their cause." The same day it will institute a policy of stopping "Unwanted Sexual Advances," although the company says it has already been taking enforcement actions on this front. Later in November, Twitter will ban "hateful display names."

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Robert Scoble regrets being 'really hurtful to women' - CNET

CNET News - Fri, 2017-10-20 17:08
The tech evangelist issues apologetic comments after being accused of sexual harassment by three women.

Bitcoin hits $6,000, making its creator even more insanely rich - CNET

CNET News - Fri, 2017-10-20 17:00
The cryptocurrency reached a new high Friday, keeping up a huge gain for 2017.

The AI That Has Nothing to Learn From Humans

SlashDot - Fri, 2017-10-20 16:40
An anonymous reader shares a report: Now that AlphaGo's arguably got nothing left to learn from humans -- now that its continued progress takes the form of endless training games against itself -- what do its tactics look like, in the eyes of experienced human players? We might have some early glimpses into an answer. AlphaGo Zero's latest games haven't been disclosed yet. But several months ago, the company publicly released 55 games that an older version of AlphaGo played against itself. (Note that this is the incarnation of AlphaGo that had already made quick work of the world's champions.) DeepMind called its offering a "special gift to fans of Go around the world." Since May, experts have been painstakingly analyzing the 55 machine-versus-machine games. And their descriptions of AlphaGo's moves often seem to keep circling back to the same several words: Amazing. Strange. Alien. "They're how I imagine games from far in the future," Shi Yue, a top Go player from China, has told the press. A Go enthusiast named Jonathan Hop who's been reviewing the games on YouTube calls the AlphaGo-versus-AlphaGo face-offs "Go from an alternate dimension." From all accounts, one gets the sense that an alien civilization has dropped a cryptic guidebook in our midst: a manual that's brilliant -- or at least, the parts of it we can understand. Will Lockhart, a physics grad student and avid Go player who codirected The Surrounding Game (a documentary about the pastime's history and devotees) tried to describe the difference between watching AlphaGo's games against top human players, on the one hand, and its self-paired games, on the other. According to Will, AlphaGo's moves against Ke Jie made it seem to be "inevitably marching toward victory," while Ke seemed to be "punching a brick wall." Any time the Chinese player had perhaps found a way forward, said Lockhart, "10 moves later AlphaGo had resolved it in such a simple way, and it was like, 'Poof, well that didn't lead anywhere!'" By contrast, AlphaGo's self-paired games might have seemed more frenetic. More complex. Lockhart compares them to "people sword-fighting on a tightrope."

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New Mirai-Like Malware Targets IoT Devices

PCMag News - Fri, 2017-10-20 16:33
The new IoT malware, called Reaper or IoTroop, could be used to launch massive DDoS attacks, according to security firm Check Point.

Ford's commuter van service Chariot halts operations in San Francisco

Engadget - Fri, 2017-10-20 16:33
Chariot, an on-demand commuter van service owned by Ford, had to suspend it's operations in San Francisco due to compliance issues with the California Highway Patrol, according to the San Francisco Business Times.

Apps and gadgets for the 'Blade Runner' future we didn’t ask for

Engadget - Fri, 2017-10-20 16:03
Punks, monks and Harrison Ford running scared through a poisonous cityscape were just a few of the details that made the original Blade Runner feel like its environment was a standalone character in the film. It felt as alien and familiar as the way...

Consumer Reports Refuses To Recommend Microsoft Surface Book 2

SlashDot - Fri, 2017-10-20 16:00
An anonymous reader writes: Earlier in the year, the review group said that problems with reliability meant that it was impossible for it to recommend any Microsoft laptop or tablet. Now Consumer Reports says that this extends to the Surface Book 2, meaning that the device will not be recommended. Microsoft is likely to be similarly disappointed with Consumer Reports' statement about the Surface Book 2. Speaking to Benzinga, Consumer Reports' spokesperson James McQueen said: "We will evaluate the performance of the Microsoft Surface Book 2 once we get it into our labs next month for testing, but we will not be able to recommend it. Our decision to withhold our recommendation of all Microsoft laptops and tablets is still in effect."

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Wireless charging will make drones always ready to fly

Engadget - Fri, 2017-10-20 15:35
Drones are great until you realize running all those propellers, a camera, GPS and other assorted technology bits are a real drain on the battery. If you're just using one for images it's not too big of a deal. But if you're using one for surveying,...

Student Expelled After Using Hardware Keylogger to Hack School, Change Grades

SlashDot - Fri, 2017-10-20 15:20
Catalin Cimpanu, writing for BleepingComputer: Kansas University (KU) officials have expelled a student for installing a hardware keylogger and using the data acquired from the device to hack into the school's grading system and chang his grades. KU did not release the student's name to the public, but they said the keystroke logging device had been installed on one of the computers in its lecture halls. The student used data collected from the device to change F grades into A grades. Professors said the incident would not have been noticed if the student didn't get greedy about modifications. The hardware device the student used was a run-of-the-mill hardware keylogger that anyone can buy on Amazon or eBay for prices as low as $20. Speaking to local media, various KU professors said they hope not to see any copycats in the near future.

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FAA proposes ban on large electronics in checked baggage

Engadget - Fri, 2017-10-20 15:08
While most of us probably keep our laptops and other large electronics in our carry-on bags, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) still wants to avoid the risk associated with exploding lithium-ion batteries in the cargo hold of passenger aircra...

NASA installs a sweet new HD camera on the space station - CNET

CNET News - Fri, 2017-10-20 15:06
See first video from the enhanced HD camera a NASA astronaut installed during a spacewalk.

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