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Fed Up With Apple's Policies, App Developers Form a 'Union'

SlashDot - Fri, 2018-05-18 14:20
Even as Apple has addressed some of the concerns outlined by iOS developers in the recent years, many say it's not enough. As the iOS App Store approaches its tenth anniversary, some app developers are still arguing for better App Store policies, ones that they say will allow them to make a better living as independent app makers. On Friday, a small group of developers, including one who recently made a feature-length film about the App Store and app culture, are forming a union to lobby for just that. From a report: In an open letter to Apple that published this morning, a group identifying themselves as The Developers Union wrote that "it's been difficult for developers to earn a living by writing software" built on Apple's existing values. The group then asked Apple to allow free trials for apps, which would give customers "the chance to experience our work for themselves, before they have to commit to making a purchase." The grassroots effort is being lead by Jake Schumacher, the director of App: The Human Story; software developer Roger Ogden and product designer Loren Morris, who both worked for a timesheet app that was acquired last year; and Brent Simmons, a veteran developer who has made apps like NetNewsWire, MarsEdit, and Vesper, which he co-created with respected Apple blogger John Gruber.

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Dockless Bike Sharing Creates Headaches for City Officials

PCMag News - Fri, 2018-05-18 14:13
Dockless bike shares might be convenient for people who don't live near a docking station, but it's creating headaches for a number of cities around the world.

‘Arrested Development’ creator: Tambor too crucial to cut

Engadget - Fri, 2018-05-18 14:13
While Netflix confirmed that Jeffrey Tambor would appear on the fifth season of Arrested Development, it wasn't clear how much. The actor left Transparent in February after multiple sexual harassment allegations kept the show in limbo, raising the qu...

Snap CEO reportedly released redesign despite warnings from designers

Engadget - Fri, 2018-05-18 13:52
Snapchat's major redesign was widely unpopular, contributing to a decline in Snap's growth and, ultimately, another redesign. Now, The Information reports that the design was released despite reservations from Snapchat engineers and a mediocre perfor...

Ask Slashdot: What's the Most Sophisticated Piece of Software Ever Written?

SlashDot - Fri, 2018-05-18 13:36
An anonymous reader writes: Stuxnet is the most sophisticated piece of software ever written, given the difficulty of the objective: Deny Iran's efforts to obtain weapons grade uranium without need for diplomacy or use of force, John Byrd, CEO of Gigantic Software (formerly Director of Sega and SPM at EA), argues in a blog post, which is being widely shared in developer circles, with most agreeing with Byrd's conclusion. He writes, "It's a computer worm. The worm was written, probably, between 2005 and 2010. Because the worm is so complex and sophisticated, I can only give the most superficial outline of what it does. This worm exists first on a USB drive. Someone could just find that USB drive laying around, or get it in the mail, and wonder what was on it. When that USB drive is inserted into a Windows PC, without the user knowing it, that worm will quietly run itself, and copy itself to that PC. It has at least three ways of trying to get itself to run. If one way doesn't work, it tries another. At least two of these methods to launch itself were completely new then, and both of them used two independent, secret bugs in Windows that no one else knew about, until this worm came along." "Once the worm runs itself on a PC, it tries to get administrator access on that PC. It doesn't mind if there's antivirus software installed -- the worm can sneak around most antivirus software. Then, based on the version of Windows it's running on, the worm will try one of two previously unknown methods of getting that administrator access on that PC. Until this worm was released, no one knew about these secret bugs in Windows either. At this point, the worm is now able to cover its tracks by getting underneath the operating system, so that no antivirus software can detect that it exists. It binds itself secretly to that PC, so that even if you look on the disk for where the worm should be, you will see nothing. This worm hides so well, that the worm ran around the Internet for over a year without any security company in the world recognizing that it even existed." What do Slashdot readers think?

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YouTube’s 'Artist on the Rise' program spotlights new music stars

Engadget - Fri, 2018-05-18 13:21
There are few better ways to win points with your music-loving friends than being the first to find a great new artist. It's easier to find emerging names through streaming rather than by trawling through the latest release section at a record store....

Four men linked to have been charged with extortion

Engadget - Fri, 2018-05-18 12:58
Four men allegedly behind the website have been arrested and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced charges of extortion, money laundering and identity theft. The website mines information from police department websites, p...

Canonical Shares Desktop Plans For Ubuntu 18.10

SlashDot - Fri, 2018-05-18 12:50
Canonical's Will Cooke on Friday talked about the features the company is working on for Ubuntu 18.10 "Cosmic Cuttlefish" cycle. He writes: We're also adding some new features which we didn't get done in time for the main 18.04 release. Specifically: Unlock with your fingerprint, Thunderbolt settings via GNOME Control Center, and XDG Portals support for snap. GNOME Software improvements We're having a week long sprint in June to map out exactly how we want the software store to work, how we want to present information and to improve the overall UX of GNOME Software. We've invited GNOME developers along to work with Ubuntu's design team and developers to discuss ideas and plan the work. I'll report back from the sprint in June. Snap start-up time Snapcraft have added the ability for us to move some application set up from first run to build time. This will significantly improve desktop application first time start up performance, but there is still more we can do. Chromium as a snap Chromium is becoming very hard to build on older releases of Ubuntu as it uses a number of features of modern C++ compilers. Snaps can help us solve a lot of those problems and so we propose to ship Chromium only as a snap from 18.10 onwards, and also to retire Chromium as a deb in Trusty. If you're still running Trusty you can get the latest Chromium as a snap right now. In addition, Ubuntu team is also working on introducing improvements to power consumption, adding support for DLNA, so that users could share media directly from their desktop to DLNA clients (without having to install and configure extra packages), and improved phone integration by shipping GS Connect as part of the desktop, the GNOME port of KDE Connect. Additional changelog here.

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'Fortnite' makes its Android debut this summer

Engadget - Fri, 2018-05-18 12:29
You knew it was just a matter of time. Just weeks after Fortnite launched on iOS, Epic has confirmed that its battle royale title (and really, cultural phenomenon) is coming to Android sometime in the summer. There's not much more to say at this st...

Tidal investigates possible data breach amid streaming stats allegations

Engadget - Fri, 2018-05-18 12:19
Tidal recently came under fire for allegedly inflating play-counts on Lemonade and The Life of Pablo, which in turn resulted in higher payouts for Beyoncé and Kanye West, respectively. The streaming service vehemently denied the allegations, b...

Google may be working on a standalone AR headset - CNET

CNET News - Fri, 2018-05-18 12:08
Apple and Samsung are doing it, so it wouldn't be surprising if Google is.

Bell & Ross releases a new watch for travelers

TechCrunch - Fri, 2018-05-18 12:01

In my endless quest to get geeks interested in watches I present to you the Bell & Ross BR V2-93 GMT 24H, a new GMT watch from one of my favorite manufacturers that is a great departure from the company’s traditional designs.

The watch is a 41mm round GMT which means it has three hands to show the time in the 12-hour scale and another separate hand that shows the time in a 24 hour scale. You can use it to see timezones in two or even three places and it comes in a nice satin-brushed metal case with a rubber or metal strap.

B&R is unique because it’s one of the first companies to embrace online sales after selling primarily in watch stores for about a decade. This means the watches are slightly cheaper – this one is $3,500 – and jewelers can’t really jack up the prices in stores. Further B&R has a great legacy of making legible, usable watches and this one is no exception. It is also a fascinating addition to the line. B&R has an Instrument series which consists of large, square watches with huge numerals, and a Vintage series that hearkens back to WWII-inspired, smaller watches. This one sit firmly in the middle, taking on the clear lines of the Instrument inside of a more vintage case.

Ultimately watches like this one are nice tool watches – designed for legibility and usability above fashion. It’s a nice addition to the line and looks like something a proper geek could wear in lieu of Apple Watches and other nerd jewelry. Here’s hoping.

Data Science is America's Hottest Job

SlashDot - Fri, 2018-05-18 12:00
Anonymous readers share a report: It turns out that even in the wake of Facebook's privacy scandal and other big-data blunders, finding people who can turn social-media clicks and user-posted photos into monetizable binary code is among the biggest challenges facing U.S. industry. People with data science bona fides are among the most sought-after professionals in business, with some data science Ph.Ds commanding as much as $300,000 or more from consulting firms. Job postings for data scientists rose 75 percent from January 2015 to January 2018 at, while job searches for data scientist roles rose 65 percent. A growing specialty is "sentiment analysis," or finding a way to quantify how many tweets are trashing your company or praising it. A typical data scientist job pays about $119,000 at the midpoint of salaries and rises to $168,000 at the 95th percentile, according to staffing agency Robert Half Technology.

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The best stand mixer

Engadget - Fri, 2018-05-18 12:00
By Lesley Stockton This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter's independently chosen editorial picks, it may earn affiliate commissions that support its work. Read the full article here.

Chromecast users can now skip show intros on Netflix

Engadget - Fri, 2018-05-18 11:42
If you're a fan of binge-watching shows on Netflix, you're probably aware of the feature that allows people streaming on certain devices to skip the introduction to TV shows. Now, users on Chromecast can take advantage of that feature as well.

Apple sends Ireland $1.76 billion in first payment for back taxes

Engadget - Fri, 2018-05-18 11:23
Back in 2016, the European Commission ordered Apple to pay Ireland around 13 billion euros ($15.3 billion at current exchange rates) in back taxes. Apple had a special sweetheart deal with Ireland, which the commission ruled was illegal. Neither part...

A Bug in Keeper Password Manager Leads To Sparring Over 'Zero-Knowledge' Claim

SlashDot - Fri, 2018-05-18 11:20
Keeper, a password manager maker that recently and controversially sued a reporter, has fixed a bug that a security researcher claimed could have allowed access to a user's private data. From a report: The bug -- which the company confirmed and has since fixed -- filed anonymously to a public security disclosure list, detailed how anyone controlling Keeper's API server could gain access to the decryption key to a user's vault of passwords and other sensitive information. The researcher found the issue in the company's Python-powered script called Keeper Commander, which allows users to rotate passwords, eliminating the need for hardcoded passwords in software and systems. According to the write-up, the researcher said it's possible that someone in control of Keeper's API -- such as employees at the company -- could unlock an account, because the API server stores the information used to produce an intermediary decryption key. "What seems to appear in the code of Keeper Commander from November 2015 to today is blind trust of the API server," said the researcher.

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Cambridge Analytica files for bankruptcy in the US

Engadget - Fri, 2018-05-18 11:03
Earlier this month, Cambridge Analytica closed up shop saying at the time that media coverage of how it came to obtain 87 million Facebook users' information had driven away nearly all of its customers and it was, therefore, "no longer viable" to ope...

Autonomous helicopter makes first operational delivery to Marines

Engadget - Fri, 2018-05-18 10:41
Drones are coming to the battlefield faster than you think. Aurora Flight Sciences recently unveiled an autonomous, LiDAR equipped helicopter called AACUS, which was already an impressive feat, considering a helicopter's complexity. Now, for the firs...

Satellite Data Strongly Suggests That China, Russia and Other Authoritarian Countries Are Fudging Their GDP Reports

SlashDot - Fri, 2018-05-18 10:40
Christopher Ingraham, writing for The Washington Post: China, Russia and other authoritarian countries inflate their official GDP figures by anywhere from 15 to 30 percent in a given year, according to a new analysis of a quarter-century of satellite data. The working paper, by Luis R. Martinez of the University of Chicago, also found that authoritarian regimes are especially likely to artificially boost their gross domestic product numbers in the years before elections, and that the differences in GDP reporting between authoritarian and non-authoritarian countries can't be explained by structural factors, such as urbanization, composition of the economy or access to electricity. Martinez's findings are derived from a novel data source: satellite imagery that tracks changes in the level of nighttime lighting within and between countries over time.

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