Tech News Feed

The Wikipedia Zero Program Will End This Year

SlashDot - Sun, 2018-02-18 18:40
Wikimedia: Wikimedia 2030, the global discussion to define the future of the Wikimedia movement, created a bold vision for the future of Wikimedia and the role we want to play in the world as a movement. With this shared vision for our movement's future in mind, the Wikimedia Foundation is evolving how we work with partners to address some of the critical barriers to participating in free knowledge globally. After careful evaluation, the Wikimedia Foundation has decided to discontinue one of its partnership approaches, the Wikipedia Zero program. Wikipedia Zero was created in 2012 to address one barrier to participating in Wikipedia globally: high mobile data costs. Through the program, we partnered with mobile operators to waive mobile data fees for their customers to freely access Wikipedia on mobile devices. Over the course of this year, no additional Wikipedia Zero partnerships will be formed, and the remaining partnerships with mobile operators will expire. In the program's six year tenure, we have partnered with 97 mobile carriers in 72 countries to provide access to Wikipedia to more than 800 million people free of mobile data charges. Further reading: Medium.

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Daimler may have used software to cheat on US emissions tests

Engadget - Sun, 2018-02-18 18:36
Daimler has been under suspicion of cheating on US emissions tests for quite a while now -- in 2016, a number of customers even sued the automaker, claiming their cars had sneaky software made to trick testers similar to Volkswagen's. Now, according...

Pixel Owners Report Battery Life, Overheating Problems

PCMag News - Sun, 2018-02-18 17:55
The problems appear to be related to Google's February security patch.

Occupational Licensing Blunts Competition and Boosts Inequality

SlashDot - Sun, 2018-02-18 17:40
Occupational licensing -- the practice of regulating who can do what jobs -- has been on the rise for decades. In 1950 one in 20 employed Americans required a licence to work. By 2017 that had risen to more than one in five. From a report: The trend partly reflects an economic shift towards service industries, in which licences are more common. But it has also been driven by a growing number of professions successfully lobbying state governments to make it harder to enter their industries. Most studies find that licensing requirements raise wages in a profession by around 10%, probably by making it harder for competitors to set up shop. Lobbyists justify licences by claiming consumers need protection from unqualified providers. In many cases this is obviously a charade. Forty-one states license makeup artists, as if wielding concealer requires government oversight. Thirteen license bartending; in nine, those who wish to pull pints must first pass an exam. Such examples are popular among critics of licensing, because the threat from unlicensed staff in low-skilled jobs seems paltry. Yet they are not representative of the broader harm done by licensing, which affects crowds of more highly educated workers like Ms Varnam. Among those with only a high-school education, 13% are licensed. The figure for those with postgraduate degrees is 45%. [...] One way of telling that many licences are superfluous is the sheer variance in the law across states. About 1,100 occupations are regulated in at least one state, but fewer than 60 are regulated in all 50, according to a report from 2015 by Barack Obama's White House. Yet a handful of high-earning professions are regulated everywhere. In particular, licences are more common in legal and health-care occupations than in any other.

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Tesla's latest smart power grid experiment begins in Canada

Engadget - Sun, 2018-02-18 17:05
Tesla's experiments with smart power grids are headed further North. Canada's Nova Scotia Power recently finished setting up a pilot project that will use a combination of Tesla's Powerwall 2 home batteries and utility-grade Powerpack batteries to...

Report: Samsung Galaxy S9 to Support 3D Emoji

PCMag News - Sun, 2018-02-18 16:55
Samsung's Galaxy S9 will support Apple Animoji-esque 3D emoji, according to reports.

Magical interactive Harry Potter wands swing into Toy Fair - CNET

CNET News - Sun, 2018-02-18 16:41
Unleash your inner wizard with these Wizard Training Wands from Jakks Pacific that use motion sensors to track your movements.

'Microsoft Should Scrap Bing and Call it Microsoft Search'

SlashDot - Sun, 2018-02-18 16:40
Chris Matyszczyk, writing for CNET: Does anyone really have a deep, abiding respect for the Bing brand? Somehow, if ever I've heard the brand name being used, it seems to be in the context of a joke. That doesn't mean the service itself is to be derided. It does suggest, though, that the brand name doesn't incite passion or excesses of reverence. The Microsoft brand, on the other hand, has become much stronger under Satya Nadella's stewardship. It's gained respect. Especially when the company showed off its Surface Studio in 2016 and made Apple's offerings look decidedly bland. Where once Microsoft was a joke in an Apple ad, now it's a symbol of a resurgent company that's trying new things and sometimes even succeeding. The funny thing about Bing is that it's not an unsuccessful product -- at least not as unsuccessful as some might imagine. Last year, Redmond said it has a 9 percent worldwide search market share, enjoying a 25 percent share in the UK, 18 percent in France and 17 percent in Canada. And look at the US. Microsoft says it has a 33 percent share here. Wouldn't it be reasonable to think that going all the way with Microsoft branding and letting Bing drift into the retirement home for funny names might be a positive move?

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Facebook proved popular with Russian election trolls - CNET

CNET News - Sun, 2018-02-18 16:03
Social network singled out in indictment charging 13 Russians with interfering with the US election.

Twitter Kills Mac Desktop App

PCMag News - Sun, 2018-02-18 15:55
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AI Can Be Our Friend, Says Bill Gates

SlashDot - Sun, 2018-02-18 15:40
An anonymous reader shares a report: "AI can be our friend," says Gates. In response to the question, "What do you think will happen to human civilization with further development in AI technology?" Gates says the rise in artificial intelligence will mean society will be able to do more with less. "AI is just the latest in technologies that allow us to produce a lot more goods and services with less labor. And overwhelmingly, over the last several hundred years, that has been great for society," explains Gates. "We used to all have to go out and farm. We barely got enough food, when the weather was bad people would starve. Now through better seeds, fertilizer, lots of things, most people are not farmers. And so AI will bring us immense new productivity," says Gates.

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Water purification could be the key to more electric cars

Engadget - Sun, 2018-02-18 15:33
Humanity is going to need a lot of lithium batteries if electric cars are going to take over, and that's a problem when there's only so much lithium available from conventional mines. There may be an oddball solution for that, however: turn the worl...

Can Samsung still claim to be ahead of Apple? - CNET

CNET News - Sun, 2018-02-18 15:00
Commentary: Samsung keeps insisting that Apple is always behind. With the release of the Galaxy S9, how true might that be?

Tokyo To Build 350m Tower Made of Wood

SlashDot - Sun, 2018-02-18 14:40
A skyscraper set to be built in Tokyo will become the world's tallest to be made of wood. From a report: The Japanese wood products company Sumitomo Forestry Co is proposing to build a 350 metre (1,148ft), 70-floor tower to commemorate its 350th anniversary in 2041. Japan's government has long advertised the advantages of wooden buildings, and in 2010 passed a law requiring it be used for all public buildings of three stories or fewer. Sumitomo Forestry said the new building, known as the W350 Project, was an example of "urban development that is kind for humans," with more high-rise architecture made of wood and covered with greenery "making over cities as forests." The new building will be predominantly wooden, with just 10% steel. Its internal framework of columns, beams and braces -- made of a hybrid of the two materials -- will take account of Japan's high rate of seismic activity. The Tokyo-based architecture firm Nikken Sekkei contributed to the design.

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Netflix deal provides a much-needed boost in the Middle East

Engadget - Sun, 2018-02-18 14:02
Despite what it seems, Netflix isn't a dominant force everywhere on the planet. In fact, it's struggling in the Middle East and northern Africa -- Netflix and Amazon combined represent 21 percent of the local subscription video space. The company is...

Give Workers 10,000 Pound To Survive Automation, British Top Think Tank Suggests

SlashDot - Sun, 2018-02-18 13:40
Britons should be able to bid for 10,000 pound (roughly $14,000) to help them prosper amid huge changes to their working lives, a leading think tank suggests today. From a report: The Royal Society for the Arts (RSA) has released research proposing a radical new sovereign wealth fund, which would be invested to make a profit like similar public funds in Norway. The returns from the fund would be used to build a pot of money, to which working-age adults under-55 would apply to receive a grant in the coming decade. People would have to set out how they intend to put the five-figure payouts to good use, for example, by using the cash to undergo re-training, to start a new business, or to combine work with the care of elderly or sick relatives. It would be funded like the student grant system and wealthier individuals could be required to pay back more in tax as their earnings increase. Ultimately, the RSA paper suggests, the wealth fund would finance a Universal Basic Income (UBI) as the world of modern work is turned upside down by increased automation, new technology and an ageing population.

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Contractors Pose Cyber Risk To Government Agencies

SlashDot - Sun, 2018-02-18 12:40
Ian Barker, writing for BetaNews: While US government agencies are continuing to improve their security performance over time, the contractors they employ are failing to meet the same standards according to a new report. The study by security rankings specialist BitSight sampled over 1,200 federal contractors and finds that the security rating for federal agencies was 15 or more points higher than the mean of any contractor sector. It finds more than eight percent of healthcare and wellness contractors have disclosed a data breach since January 2016. Aerospace and defense firms have the next highest breach disclosure rate at 5.6 percent. While government has made a concerted effort to fight botnets in recent months, botnet infections are still prevalent among the government contractor base, particularly for healthcare and manufacturing contractors. The study also shows many contractors are not following best practices for network encryption and email security.

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The best portable SSD

Engadget - Sun, 2018-02-18 12:30
By Justin Krajeski 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. After research...

Why Microsoft should scrap Bing and call it Microsoft Search - CNET

CNET News - Sun, 2018-02-18 12:00
Commentary: Recently, Microsoft began to feature its own name on Bing Translator. Perhaps it's time for the Bing brand to be retired.

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