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Rambo: First Bork. Turns out John Rambo is no match for a bad CMOS checksum

The Register - Mon, 2020-10-19 10:25
To survive a war, you gotta become war. Yes, that's a real quote from the movie. Quality

While Sylvester Stallone may or may not be done with the Rambo franchise after decades of portraying the eponymous character, its arcade incarnation endures, if a little borked.…

Categories: Technology

Gamers are replacing Bing Maps objects in Microsoft Flight Simulator with rips from Google Earth

The Register - Mon, 2020-10-19 09:30
So much for showcasing Redmond's Chocolate Factory alternative

Microsoft’s flagship 2020 game Flight Simulator was supposed to showcase Bing Maps and Azure’s streaming capabilities. There’s just one small problem: gamers are overwriting Bing’s in-game 3D photogrammetry with entire cities ripped from Google Earth.…

Categories: Technology

Can't quite remember the name of the song stuck in your head? Hum it and our AI will take a guess, says Google

The Register - Mon, 2020-10-19 08:58
Fine, try this one: Hmm mmm egregious web monopoly mmm-mmm hmm radicalizing video algorithms mm

In brief  You can recall a song’s melody clearly in your mind though the name of it completely slips your tongue. What do you do? Well, now you can hum it directly into your smartphone and Google will try its best to detect what tune it is.…

Categories: Technology

Microsoft Forces Windows 10 Restarts -- To Install 'Unsolicited, Unwanted' Office Apps

Slashdot - Mon, 2020-10-19 08:34
The Verge's senior news editor complains that without permission, Windows 10 restarted to install "unsolicited, unwanted web app versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook onto my computer." OK, it's not as bad as when my entire computer screen got taken over by an unwanted copy of Microsoft Edge. That was truly egregious. No, this time Microsoft is merely sneaking unwanted web apps onto my PC — and using my Windows 10 Start Menu as free advertising space. Did I mention that icons for Microsoft Office apps have magically appeared in my Start Menu, even though I've never once installed Office on this computer? These aren't full free copies of Office, by the way. They're just shortcuts to the web version you could already access in any web browser of your choice, which double as advertisements to pay for a more fully featured copy... They're the latest proof that Microsoft doesn't respect your ownership of your own PC, the latest example of Microsoft installing anything it likes in a Windows update up to and including bloatware, and the latest example of Microsoft caring more about the bottom line than whether a few people might lose their work when Windows suddenly shuts down their PC. Luckily, I didn't lose any work today, but a friend of mine recently did... Microsoft seems to think our computers are free advertising space, a place where it can selfishly promote its other products — even though they were told roundly in the '90s that even bundling a web browser was not OK. Now, they're bundling a browser you can't uninstall, and a set of PWA web apps that launch in that same browser. (Yes, they fire up Edge even if you've set a different browser as default.)

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Quick thinking and an explanation for <i>everything</i> - key CTO qualities

The Register - Mon, 2020-10-19 08:15
You thought that presentation would be dull as styrofoam flavoured water when...

Who, Me?  In these times of remote working, we're all a bit more cautious about what might be on our shared screen or lurking on the shelves behind us. Some things never change, as today's Who, Me? makes plain.…

Categories: Technology

VMware CEO doesn’t know who will run its hypervisor on SmartNICs

The Register - Mon, 2020-10-19 07:37
Maybe clouds. Maybe banks. Probably not you, until they matter to developers

+COMMENT  VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger is unsure who will use the recently announced cut of the company's ESXi hypervisor for SmartNICs with Arm CPUs.…

Categories: Technology

CodeSOD: Don't Not Be Negative

The Daily WTF - Mon, 2020-10-19 07:30

One of my favorite illusions is the progress bar. Even the worst, most inaccurate progress bar will make an application feel faster. The simple feedback which promises "something is happening" alters the users' sense of time.

So, let's say you're implementing a JavaScript progress bar. You need to decide if you are "in progress" or not. So you need to check: if there is a progress value, and the progress value is less than 100, you're still in progress.

Mehdi's co-worker decided to implement that check as… the opposite.

const isInProgress = progress => !(!progress || (progress && progress > 100))

This is one of those lines of code where you can just see the developer's process, encoded in each choice made. "Okay, we're not in progress if progress doesn't have a value: !(!progress). Or we're not in progress if progress has a value and that value is over 100."

There's nothing explicitly wrong with this code. It's just the most awkward, backwards possible way to express that check. I suspect that part of its tortured logic arises from the fact that the developer wanted to return false if the value was null or undefined, and this was the way they figured out to do that.

Of course, a more straightforward way to write that might be (progress) => (progress && progress <= 100) || false. This will have "unexpected" behavior if the progress value is negative, but then again, so will the original code.

In the end, this is just a story of a double negative. I definitely won't say you should never not use a double negative. Don't not avoid them.

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Categories: Technology

Microsoft builds image-to-caption AI so that your visually impaired coworkers can truly comprehend your boss's PowerPoint abominations

The Register - Mon, 2020-10-19 07:02
Better-than-before code to make Office more accessible

Microsoft has built a machine-learning model that automatically captions images in documents and emails so that the descriptions can be dictated by software for visually impaired users. It's claimed to be twice as good as the automatic captioning code the Windows giant already uses in its products.…

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Linux 5.10 to make Year 2038 problem the Year 2486 problem

The Register - Mon, 2020-10-19 06:01
XFS timestamp tweak extends Unix time for a few centuries

The forthcoming Linux 5.10 looks like it will include further fixes for the Year 2038 problem, aka Y2K38.…

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China passes Tik for Tok export ban law

The Register - Mon, 2020-10-19 04:57
Includes the usual stuff about not selling weapons, adds wording about tech, data, and reciprocity

China has passed new export control laws that give it the power to impose tit for tat export bans.…

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What If the Government Ran a Social Network?

Slashdot - Mon, 2020-10-19 04:34
A publicly-funded social network run by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation "has been proposed as one possible response if Facebook and Google limit services in Australia when the mandatory news code becomes law this year," reports the Guardian: Facebook has warned it will block Australians from sharing news if the landmark plan to make digital platforms pay for news content becomes law. Google has been running a public campaign against the code and launched an international campaign targeting YouTube users when the government announced it would force the company to pay news publishers for content... The proposal for a platform hosted by the ABC is among a raft of risk mitigation proposals in a report commissioned by the Centre for Responsible Technology, "Tech-Xit: Can Australia survive without Google and Facebook?" The proposed platform would connect the community without harvesting data in the way Google and Facebook do, and could rely on the wide reach of the ABC across local, regional and national communities, as well as the trust the invested in the institution by the public. "An ABC platform which engages the community, allows for a genuine exchange and influence on decision making, and applying principles of independent journalism and storytelling would provide real value to local communities starved of civic engagement," the report says. "[We should] develop viable alternatives to Google and Facebook, such as national online social platform hosted through the ABC..." The report argues the arrival of the mandatory news code is a chance to push back against the profit or surveillance imperative of the tech giants and look for alternatives. "Google and Facebook's response to the ACCC mandatory news code has placed in stark relief our national over-reliance on them," the director of the Australia Institute's Centre for Responsible Technology, Peter Lewis, said. "This analysis shows that two global corporations that play a dominant role in our civic and commercial institutions are prepared to threaten to withdraw those services to protect their own commercial self-interest."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Xi Jinping tells China to get busy quickening quantum everything to build 'new advantages for development'

The Register - Mon, 2020-10-19 02:57
Already has QKD in space. Next: ban-busting qubit-crunchers?

Chinese premier Xi Jinping has told the nation to hurry up and do whatever it takes to commercialise quantum technology.…

Categories: Technology

Another California City Launches a Two-Year Guaranteed Income Program

Slashdot - Mon, 2020-10-19 02:44
The Los Angeles Times reports a new guaranteed income pilot program which within a few months "will begin giving 800 Compton residents free cash for a two-year period," according to mayor Aja Brown: So far, private donors have contributed $2.5 million to the Fund for Guaranteed Income, a charity headed by Nika Soon-Shiong, daughter of Los Angeles Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong... Each selected family will receive at least a few hundred dollars on a recurring basis, as well as tools that will help them access financial guidance, Brown said. Parents or other residents caring for dependents may receive more. Anonymous researchers will track the participants' spending and well-being. Brown said she had been aware of the concept of universal guaranteed income for years, but got to see it in action in February 2019 when Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs launched the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration, which gave 125 residents $500 a month for 18 months... The concept of giving citizens free money with no strings attached was once a radical idea that has begun gaining traction, partly as a result of the pandemic. Opponents of guaranteed income have argued that extra cash with no strings attached would lead to higher levels of unemployment and that recipients might spend the money on drugs or alcohol or other "temptation goods." But decades of research has indicated that very few people work less after receiving cash transfers, and those who do use usually spend more with their families, said Halah Ahmad, head of public relations and policy communications for the Jain Family Institute, a nonprofit research firm that helps design guaranteed income pilot programs. In a review of 19 studies on cash transfers between 1997 and 2014 by the World Bank, authors found that "Almost without exception, studies find either no significant impact or a significant negative impact of transfers on temptation goods."

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Thailand calls on telcos and ISPs to censor information about pro-democracy protests

The Register - Mon, 2020-10-19 00:57
Selfies of rallies can score fines or land you in the slammer

Thailand calls on telcos and ISPs to censor information about protests Selfies can score fines or land you in the slammer Thailand has called on the nation’s telcos and internet service providers to censor communication about a wave of protests sweeping the country and made it an offence to take a selfie at protest events.…

Categories: Technology

Three npm Packages Opened Remote-Access Shells on Linux and Windows Systems

Slashdot - Mon, 2020-10-19 00:52
"Three JavaScript packages have been removed from the npm portal on Thursday for containing malicious code," reports ZDNet. "According to advisories from the npm security team, the three JavaScript libraries opened shells on the computers of developers who imported the packages into their projects." The shells, a technical term used by cyber-security researchers, allowed threat actors to connect remotely to the infected computer and execute malicious operations. The npm security team said the shells could work on both Windows and *nix operating systems, such as Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and others. All three packages were uploaded on the npm portal in May (first) and September 2018 (last two). Each package had hundreds of downloads since being uploaded on the npm portal. The packages names were: plutov-slack-client nodetest199 nodetest1010 "Any computer that has this package installed or running should be considered fully compromised. All secrets and keys stored on that computer should be rotated immediately from a different computer," the npm security team said.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Stupid Russian Disinformation Campaign Targets Oxford Vaccine

Slashdot - Sun, 2020-10-18 23:59
The Times of London reports that "a Russian disinformation campaign designed to undermine and spread fear about the Oxford University coronavirus vaccine has been exposed by a Times investigation." Pictures, memes and video clips depicting the British-made vaccine as dangerous have been devised in Russia and middlemen are now seeking to "seed" the images on social media networks around the world. The crude theme of the distorted images is that the vaccine, millions of doses of which will be manufactured by the pharmaceutical giant Astrazeneca, could turn people into monkeys because it uses a chimpanzee virus as a vector. The campaign is being targeted at countries where Russia wants to sell its own Sputnik V vaccine, as well as western nations. CNN points out that this "monkey vaccine" narrative "has been voiced by Russian officials and the state media before."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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If you're feeling down, know that we've just buried a heat sensor in an alien planet. If NASA can get through Mars soil, you can get through 2020

The Register - Sun, 2020-10-18 23:48
US space agency has a mole – and that's a good thing, finally

NASA’s off-again, on-again Mars digger nicknamed the mole is finally buried in the planet’s soil and will take readings beneath the surface next year.…

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China Bans Internet Services Which 'Induce Addiction' In Children

Slashdot - Sun, 2020-10-18 22:46
"China is implementing stricture measures in its bid to keep kids away from addictive digital content," reports Engadget: The state-backed news agency Xinhua reported (via Reuters) that China has voted for a revamped law that will ban internet products and services which "induce addiction" in kids. Game creators, livestream services and social networks also have to set up time and consumption limits. The revised measures also give kids and their parents the right to ask internet providers to take "necessary measures" to thwart cyberbullying, including blocking and deleting content. The updated law will take effect on June 1st, 2021.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Is QAnon an 8Chan Game Gone Wrong?

Slashdot - Sun, 2020-10-18 21:43
This week London's prestigious Financial Times published a 15-minute video investigating the question: "Is QAnon a game gone wrong?" In 2017, the Q team, whoever they may be, made use of the modern equivalent of the Playboy's letters page. It's a message board called 4Chan... A YouTuber called defango has since claimed the work was his. He says he created Q as an alternative reality game, mostly for the LOLs, but also to smoke out bad journalists in the alternative media space. But he also says that in 2018, a man called Thomas Schoenberger wrested control of the game from him... Nobody knows if what he says is really true. What is becoming clear is that the whole thing has run away with itself... Anyone who plays live action role playing games, known as LARPs, will recognise the gaming elements of QAnon [according to alternate-Reality Game pioneer Jim Stewartson.] "In 2015, 2016, and 2017, there were a lot of what are called LARPs, live action role playing is what the term means. And it really just means that there is a person pretending to be somebody else. The players knew they weren't real, but it was fun for them to interact with. But what happened on 4Chan and 8Chan is that individual people would go and LARP all by themselves, and create basically a single point of contact for an entire alternate reality game. In 2016, there was FBI Anon, and CIA Anon, Meganon, and all of these different LARPs that were basically practicing, they were prototyping what QAnon is... So it turns out there's a guy named Thomas Schoenberger. He saw this Cicada game as an opportunity to radicalise smart people, and he ended up creating puzzles and calling it Cicada, even though he was not the creator of it." To this day, no one seems quite sure who the creator of Cicada was. We haven't been able to confirm Thomas Schoenberger's involvement in either Cicada or QAnon... [But Jim Stewartson tells them] "There's a woman named Lisa Clapier who runs an account called SnowWhite7IAM. And her job was to bring people from Cicada to QAnon. So there was a whole theme about follow the White Rabbit. A whole theme around Snow White and Disney characters. And that theme was used specifically to pull people from Cicada into QAnon." A similar origin story appears in a new article at Heavy.com: Between 2014 and 2016, Schoenberger "stole" Cicada, Heavy's source said, and he started manipulating the puzzle. Later on, while working with Chavez, "breadcrumbs" — vague top secret information hidden in clues, were presented through the Cicada game. In October 2017 QAnon posts premiered on 4chan, a site Schoenberger was prominent on before moving to 8chan in December, a site run out of the Philippines by pornography mogul and pig farmer, Jim Watkins, Heavy's source said...

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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3 TB of Private Webcam/Home Security Video Leaked on Porn Sites

Slashdot - Sun, 2020-10-18 20:48
schwit1 quotes Input: A hacking group that has yet to identify itself found and stole more than 3 TB of private video from around the world — mainly collected from Singapore — and shared it on porn sites, according to reports from local media like The New Paper. While some of the footage was indeed pornographic in nature, other videos are more mundane. More than 50,000 private IP-based cameras were accessed by hackers to amass the collection. Some were explicitly tagged with locations in Singapore, The New Paper reports, while others revealed their location as Singapore based on context clues such as book titles and home layout. Many show people (sometimes with their faces censored) in "various stages of undress or compromising positions...." It's looking like poor security is the culprit. Clement Lee, a solutions architect for multinational software company Check Point Software Technologies, told The New Paper that the hacking of IP cameras is often due to "poor password management." IP cameras make it easy to access your video feeds from anywhere — which means it's also easy for hackers to access them from anywhere, once they've figured out your password... The unfortunate fact of the matter is that internet-connected devices are inherently susceptible to hacking. Add lax encryption and lazy users to the mix and you have a recipe for disaster.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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