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Samsung Rolls Out Access Upgrade Plan For New Galaxy Devices

Mon, 2020-06-01 16:30
Samsung is rolling out Samsung Access, a monthly premium upgrade program in the US for users who purchase new Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20 Plus, or Galaxy S20 Ultra phones, the company announced in a blog post. From a report: Unlike its legacy upgrade program, Samsung Access provides additional benefits, including a Premium Care membership, and a premium Microsoft 365 subscription, which includes Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Skype, along with 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage. Another big difference between the new Access plan and the legacy upgrade plan: if you already have a Samsung device, you can't trade it in to join the new Access plan. The standard upgrade plan allows you to trade in an existing device and put any remaining balance toward a new one. Pricing for a minimum three-month subscription to Samsung Access will cost $37 per month for the S20, $42 per month for the S20 Plus, and $48 per month for the S20 Ultra.

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Categories: Technology

Microsoft Now Credits Maker of Package Manager it 'Copied' -- But Offers No Apology

Mon, 2020-06-01 15:47
Microsoft has now admitted it failed to give due credit to Canadian developer Keivan Beigi for his role in the new WinGet Windows 10 package manager. From a report: Last week, Beigi, who built the open-source AppGet package manager for Windows, accused Microsoft of copying his work for WinGet without acknowledging his product's influence. Beigi says Microsoft copied large parts of AppGet to deliver WinGet, the Windows package manager announced at Microsoft Build 2020. Last week, he detailed his discussions with a senior manager at Microsoft named Andrew who approached him in July 2019 with an invitation to meet and discuss "how we can make your life easier building AppGet". Andrew Clinick, a group program manager on the team responsible for how apps install on Windows, has now admitted Microsoft failed to give Beigi proper credit for AppGet's influence on WinGet. "Our goal is to provide a great product to our customers and community where everyone can contribute and receive recognition," wrote Clinick. "The last thing that we want to do is alienate anyone in the process. That is why we are building it on GitHub in the open where everyone can contribute. "Over the past couple of days we've listened and learned from our community and clearly we did not live up to this goal. More specifically, we failed to live up to this with Keivan and AppGet. This was the last thing that we wanted."

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Categories: Technology

Facebook Employees Publicly Criticize Zuckerberg's Inaction Over Trump

Mon, 2020-06-01 15:10
Senior Facebook employees took to Twitter over the weekend to express their dismay at Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg's decision not to take action on incendiary comments posted to the social network by U.S. President Donald Trump. From a report: After the president tweeted a message with the words "when the looting starts, the shooting starts" in response to protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Twitter for the first time obscured one of his tweets, marking it with a warning that it breached service rules by glorifying violence. Facebook's response to the same content, in a post from Zuckerberg on Friday, was to say, "We think people need to know if the government is planning to deploy force." Several senior figures at Facebook expressed strong disagreement. "Mark is wrong, and I will endeavor in the loudest possible way to change his mind," said Ryan Freitas, director of product design for Facebook's News Feed. "I apologize if you were waiting for me to have some sort of external opinion. I focused on organizing 50+ likeminded folks into something that looks like internal change." "Giving a platform to incite violence and spread disinformation is unacceptable, regardless who you are or if it's newsworthy," wrote Andrew Crow, head of design for Facebook's Portal product line. Joining them with individual messages against the passive policy were Design Manager Jason Stirman, Director of Product Management Jason Toff and Product Designer Sara Zhang, who tweeted that "Internally we are voicing our concerns, so far to no avail."

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Categories: Technology

Finding Serious 'Sign In with Apple' Hole Earns Security Researcher a $100,000 Bug Bounty

Mon, 2020-06-01 12:34
An anonymous reader quotes Forbes: When Apple announced Sign in with Apple at the June 2019 worldwide developers conference, it called it a "more private way to simply and quickly sign into apps and websites." The idea was, and still is, a good one: replace social logins that can be used to collect personal data with a secure authentication system backed by Apple's promise not to profile users or their app activity... Unsurprisingly, it has been pushed as being a more privacy-oriented option than using your Facebook or Google account. Fast forward to April 2020, and a security researcher from Delhi uncovered a critical Sign in with Apple vulnerability that could allow an attacker to potentially take over an account with just an email ID. A critical vulnerability that was deemed important enough that Apple paid him $100,000 through its bug bounty program by way of a reward. With the vulnerability already now patched by Apple on the server-side, Bhavuk Jain published his disclosure of the security shocker on May 30. It applied "only to third-party apps which used Sign in with Apple without taking any further security measures," the article points out , adding that the researcher who found it "said Apple carried out an internal investigation and determined that no account compromises or misuse had occurred before the vulnerability was fixed." But they also quote an SME application security lead at ImmersiveLabs who said he "would have expected better testing around this from a company such as Apple, especially when it is trying to set itself a reputation as privacy-focused."

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How 'Technoprogressive' Transhumanists Are Enhancing Their Bodies With Technology

Mon, 2020-06-01 08:49
Rob Spence installed a wireless video camera in place of his right eye, reports CNN. And 29-year-old James Young's robotic arm "features a USB port, a screen displaying his Twitter feed and a retractable dock containing a remote-controlled drone..." "As biotechnology advances, so too may our ideas of what it means to be human." Today, we can alter our bodies in previously unimaginable ways, whether that's implanting microchips, fitting advanced prosthetic limbs or even designing entirely new senses. So-called transhumanists — people who seek to improve their biology by enhancing their bodies with technology — believe that our natural condition inhibits our experience of the world, and that we can transcend our current capabilities through science. Ideas that are "technoprogressive" to some are controversial to others. But to photographer David Vintiner, they are something else altogether: beautiful. "Beauty is in the engineered products," said Vintiner, who has spent years photographing real-life cyborgs and body-modifiers for his upcoming book, "I Want to Believe — An Exploration of Transhumanism." Made in collaboration with art director and critic Gem Fletcher, the book features a variety of people who identify, to some degree, as "transhuman" — including a man with bionic ears that sense changes in atmospheric pressure, a woman who can "feel" earthquakes taking place around the world and technicians who have developed lab-made organs... Though the photographer admitted that the transhumanists' claims can seem outlandish at first, he soon saw the appeal of technological self-enhancement. "If given the chance, how would you design your own body and what would you want it to say about you?" he asked.

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Are News Outlets Responsible For Comments Left On Their Facebook Pages?

Mon, 2020-06-01 05:14
Leading media outlets in Australia lost big in court when a judge ruled publishers can be sued for comments left on their Facebook pages. They're now considering an appeal, reports the Financial Express: The court upheld an earlier ruling in the Supreme Court that the outlets were "first or primary distributors" of the comments about Dylan Voller, a former detainee at Northern Territory's Don Dale Youth Detention Centrethat were attached to news stories in December 2016 and January 2017... It said the outlets "encouraged and facilitated the making of comments by third parties which when posted on the page were made available to Facebook users generally and were therefore publishers of the comments". The court also held that the outlets could not rely on a defence of innocent dissemination... Justice John Basten said: "Perhaps with a degree of hyperbole, they submitted that they were more closely equivalent to the supplier of paper to a newspaper owner or the supplier of a computer to an author." He dismissed the suggestion the outlets played "no active" role in regard to the postings on their Facebook pages. "The point of distinction may be accepted; however, it does not follow that they were not publishers,'' Justice Basten said. "They facilitated the posting of comments on articles published in their newspapers and had sufficient control over the platform to be able to delete postings when they became aware that they were defamatory." In a separate judgment, Justice Tony Meagher and Acting Justice Carolyn Simpson said that by inviting the public to comment, the outlets "accepted responsibility for the use of their Facebook facilities".

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'Lord of the Rings' Reunion Brings Actors, Director, Writers Together on Zoom

Mon, 2020-06-01 02:34
"Just about the entire cast of The Lord of the Rings gathered their Zoom screens together for a reunion nearly two decades after the end of the epic fantasy film trilogy," reports CNET: io9 notes that it was comic actor-singer Josh Gad who "gathered the hobbits, the wizards, the elves, and the wicked menfolk to go to Isen — YouTube, where they joke, talk shop, reminisce, and just seem to really thoroughly enjoy each others' presence. In this stream are Elijah Wood [Frodo], Sena Astin [Sam], Ian McKellen [Gandalf], Orlando Bloom [Legolas], Viggo Mortensen [Aragorn], Liv Tyler [Arwen], and more, along with director Peter Jackson and, presumably, the kind doting ghost of J.R.R. Tolkien just off-screen." The Wrap has more details, including the fact that the event was to support No Kid Hungry, a charity in support of ending childhood hunger, and some ways they changed J.R.R. Tolkein's book for the movie: "Gandalf does not say, 'You shall not pass!' in the book," McKellen notes. "He says, 'You will not pass." [Co-writer Philippa] Boyens also notes that Gandalf's first line in the trilogy was one she came up with herself, instead of coming from Tolkien: "A wizard is never late, Frodo Baggins. Nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to." Another moment from the trilogy that gained Internet immortality was Boromir's famous "One does not simply" speech, where he warns the Council of Elrond that trying to sneak into Mordor to destroy the One Ring is impossible. Jackson admits that the speech was written the day before the council scene was filmed and while Sean Bean's speech was done so well that it became a meme, he needed some help to remember it. "What Sean did, which I thought was really clever, is he got a print-out of the speech taped to his knee," Jackson said, pointing out Bean places his hand to his head to display Boromir's sense of despair. "If you watch the scene now, you'll see every time that Sean has to check his script."

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Walmart Employees Complain Its Anti-Shoplifting AI Is Buggy, Inaccurate, and Dangerous

Mon, 2020-06-01 00:44
Walmart uses "Everseen" AI technology in thousands of its stores "to prevent shoplifting at registers and self-checkout kiosks," reports Wired. But some Walmart workers claim that instead it's often failed to stop actual instances of stealing, misidentified innocuous behavior as theft -- and made it harder for them to social distance: The workers said they had been upset about Walmart's use of Everseen for years and claimed colleagues had raised concerns about the technology to managers but were rebuked. They decided to speak to the press, they said, after a June 2019 Business Insider article reported Walmart's partnership with Everseen publicly for the first time. The story described how Everseen uses AI to analyze footage from surveillance cameras installed in the ceiling and can detect issues in real time, such as when a customer places an item in their bag without scanning it. When the system spots something, it automatically alerts store associates... In interviews, the workers, whose jobs include knowledge of Walmart's loss-prevention programs, said their top concern with Everseen was false positives at self-checkout. The employees believe that the tech frequently misinterprets innocent behavior as potential shoplifting, which frustrates customers and store associates, and leads to longer lines. "It's like a noisy tech, a fake AI that just pretends to safeguard," said one worker. The coronavirus pandemic has given their concerns more urgency. One Concerned Home Office Associate said they worry false positives could be causing Walmart workers to break social-distancing guidelines unnecessarily. When Everseen flags an issue, a store associate needs to intervene and determine whether shoplifting or another problem is taking place. In an internal communication from April obtained by WIRED, a corporate Walmart manager expressed strong concern that workers were being put at risk by the additional contact necessitated by false positives and asked whether the Everseen system should be turned off to protect customers and workers. Before COVID-19, "it wasn't ideal, it was a poor customer experience," the worker said. "AI is now creating a public health risk."

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Are Food Delivery Services Actually Losing Money?

Sun, 2020-05-31 23:34
Food delivery services like Grubhub should be thriving, especially during the pandemic. But they're not, The Markup reports: In August 2019, analysts from the investment firm Cowen estimated that Uber Eats was losing $3.36 on every order and would continue to lose money on every order for the next five years. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi acknowledged that Uber Eats is not yet profitable in an email to employees in March after its parent company laid off more than 3,700 employees.... In early March, DoorDash filed to go public despite losing an estimated $450 million in 2019, according to The New York Times. DoorDash declined to comment on that estimate or its path to profitability, but regarding the latter CEO Tony Xu told Fortune in February that "we're working our way there...." Meanwhile, other companies have been ditching the food delivery business: Yelp sold Eat24 to Grubhub, Square sold Caviar to DoorDash, and Amazon shut down its Amazon Restaurants delivery service. Grubhub, which also owns Seamless, is publicly traded and the only one of the big four that has achieved profitability. Still, it lost more than a third of its value after revenue fell below investors' expectations in the third quarter of 2019. In a letter to shareholders, the company revealed two things: Customers were "promiscuous," or not loyal to the Grubhub platform, and the delivery part of the business was fundamentally not profitable. Instead, delivery was just a "means to an end" — getting restaurants to sign up on the Grubhub platform and then upselling them on "marketing" benefits, like greater visibility in Grubhub's search results. In other words, like many tech companies, GrubHub is primarily an advertising company. "Bottom line is that you need to pay someone enough money to drive to the restaurant, pick up food and drive it to a diner. . . ," the company wrote. "At some point, delivery drones and robots may reduce the cost of fulfillment, but it will be a long time before the capital costs and ongoing operating expenses are less than the cost of paying someone for 30-45 minutes of their time."

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Linus Torvalds Argues Against 80-Column Line Length Coding Style, As Linux Kernel Deprecates It

Sun, 2020-05-31 22:34
"The Linux kernel has officially deprecated its coding style that the length of lines of code comply with 80 columns as the 'strong preferred limit'," reports Phoronix: The Linux kernel like many long-standing open-source projects has a coding style guideline that lines of code be 80 columns or less, but now that while still recommended is no longer going to be enforced. This stems from Linus Torvalds commenting on Friday that excessive linebreaks are bad and he is against ugly wrapped code that is strictly sticking to 80 characters per line. This is part of the broader trend that most are no longer using 80x25 terminals... This deprecation involves updating the documentation on the kernel's coding style to be more sensible and updating the checkpatch.pl script that checks patches to no longer have a max line length of 80. Instead, the check patch script is using a maximum line length of 100. Torvalds noted Friday that spreading code over multiple lines created problems for single-line utilities like grep, while longer lines "are fundamentally useful..." [H]onestly, I don't want to see patches that make the kernel reading experience worse for me and likely for the vast majority of people, based on the argument that some odd people have small terminal windows... If you or Christoph have 80 character lines, you'll get possibly ugly wrapped output. Tough. That's _your_ choice. Your hardware limitations shouldn't be a pain for the rest of us... So no. I do not care about somebody with a 80x25 terminal window getting line wrapping. For exactly the same reason I find it completely irrelevant if somebody says that their kernel compile takes 10 hours because they are doing kernel development on a Raspberry PI with 4GB of RAM. People with restrictive hardware shouldn't make it more inconvenient for people who have better resources... If you choose to use a 80-column terminal, you can live with the line wrapping. It's just that simple. "Yes, staying withing 80 columns is certainly still _preferred_," notes the official commit message for this change. "But it's not the hard limit that the checkpatch warnings imply, and other concerns can most certainly dominate. Increase the default limit to 100 characters. Not because 100 characters is some hard limit either, but that's certainly a 'what are you doing' kind of value and less likely to be about the occasional slightly longer lines.'"

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Protesting Mark Zuckerberg Comments About Fact-Checking, Fake News About Mark Zuckerberg Goes Viral

Sun, 2020-05-31 21:34
"I don't think that Facebook or internet platforms in general should be arbiters of truth," CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Thursday. Since then, Vice reports, "Fake news about Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is being shared widely on the internet, including on his own social network..." Zuckerberg's quote is particularly confusing because Facebook does fact-check some news posts, and uses a byzantine, third-party system to do so. Nonetheless, Donald Trump later quoted Zuckerberg's favorable response in a tweet. Now, two satirical articles by websites with Australian domain names are going viral on Facebook, spreading misinformation about Zuckerberg and calling attention to his stance against fact checking by social media companies. The first article, posted on Thursday by a site called The Chaser, is titled "'Social media should not fact check posts,' says child molester Mark Zuckerberg," which also baselessly alleges that the CEO likes black jellybeans. It has more than 200,000 interactions on Facebook, according to the Facebook-owned analytics platform Crowdtangle. This article has also gone viral on Twitter, where The Chaser's tweet has amassed more than 4,000 retweets. Another article, also posted on Thursday from a site called The Shovel, is titled "Mark Zuckerberg — Dead at 36 — Says Social Media Should Not Fact Check Posts." This post has nearly 50,000 interactions on Facebook and is also viral on Twitter.

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82-Year-Old Ridley Scott Shares Some Secrets About 'Alien'

Sun, 2020-05-31 20:34
Ridley Scott was the fifth choice to direct the 1979 film Alien, remembers the Los Angeles Times, "meaning that no one was expecting the film to become as important and influential as it now is." This week they chronicled some more remembrances about the film from 82-year-old Ridley Scott: The central role of Ellen Ripley — also portrayed by Sigourney Weaver in three subsequent sequels — was originally written as a man... "I think it was Alan Ladd [then president of 20th Century Fox] who said, 'Why can't Ripley be a woman?' And there was a long pause, that at that moment I never thought about it. I thought, why not, it's a fresh direction, the ways I thought about that. And away we went... I found Sigourney by word of mouth. Somebody had been told that Siourney was on an off-Broadway stage doing something, that I should meet. And I did," Scott said. "And there it was, she was perfect. In terms of scale, size, intelligence, her acting is just fantastic. And so it was made for her, really." The film's notorious chest-burster scene, in which an alien creature emerges from within actor John Hurt's chest, is now among the classic scenes in modern horror cinema. It was shot with multiple cameras because Scott could only really perform the full effect once, "because once I blew blood all over that set, there was no cleaning it up... I kept it very much from the actors and I kept the actual little creature, whatever that would be, from the actors. I never wanted them to see it," Scott said. "Remember there was no digital effects in those days at all. I'm going to somehow bring that creature out of his chest...." Scott recalled the influence that Star Wars had on him at the time, noting, "It opened the gate for me feeling comfortable that science fiction was no longer silly fantasy but actually had a reality to it... So I was blown away... My hat still comes off to George," Scott said of Lucas for the first Star Wars. "Without question his was by far the best, still." Scott directed the 2017 film Alien: Covenant, the Times notes, "And he may not be done yet. "What I always thought when I was making it, the first one, why would a creature like this be made and why was it traveling in what I always thought was a kind of war-craft, which was carrying a cargo of these eggs. What was the purpose of the vehicle and what was the purpose of the eggs? That's the thing to question — who, why, and for what purpose is the next idea, I think."

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Dutch Restaurant Will Re-Open With Robot Waiters

Sun, 2020-05-31 19:34
When Dutch restaurants open tomorrow, one will be using two shiny white-and-red robot waiters, reports the Associated Press: "Hello and welcome," the robots say — in a voice best described as pre-programmed. Their duties will include greeting customers, serving drinks and dishes and returning used glasses and crockery. It's unclear whether diners will be expected to tip. One thing the robots will certainly do is see that social distancing rules are respected. "We will use them to make sure the five feet we need during the corona crisis sticks," Leah Hu said. "I've had negative reactions," she said, "such as saying it makes it impersonal." But it may prove just what customers crave when Dutch restaurants are allowed to reopen Monday as lockdown restrictions are further eased. In a stab at quasi-human panache, one robot wears a chiffon scarf around its neck.... And in the southern Zeeland province, the Hus don't want to hear any complaints about the robots robbing young people of a job. They say it's hard enough anyway to find staff in a rural region without any major city close by... "We are often busy and cleaning tables and the robots give us an extra hand." It also frees up the human staff for some more personal contact. "We are not disappearing. We are still here. They will always need people in this industry," she said.

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Microsoft Edge To Save Edits Made To PDF Files Without Saving a Copy Each Time

Sun, 2020-05-31 18:34
techtsp quotes The Windows Club: In a major breakthrough, Microsoft Edge now supports Native File System API, which will take progressive web apps and their usage to a whole new level. An official roadmap entry points towards the new development, which only means one thing: Bridging the native app gap using modern web technologies... This is exactly where Microsoft Edge's Native File System API support comes into play, and Edge is already rolling out a native PDF editing support that uses this Native File System API. In the future, Microsoft Edge users can easily save edits made to PDF documents back to the file instead of saving a copy each time... Starting in Google Chrome 83, a new origin trial has started for the Native File System API for all desktop platforms including Windows, Linux, and macOS. We saw it in action in the text editor demo.... Over the last few years, the web has evolved into an incredibly powerful platform in itself, and with the introduction and significant adoption of Progressive Web Apps (PWAs), the cross-device software delivery became much easier. But no matter how great PWAs are, they have certain limitations that we can't possibly ignore. And these limitations prevent users from replacing native apps with progressive web apps. In short, PWAs can't do everything that native apps can do.

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Zoom's New, Stronger Encryption May Only Protect Paying Clients

Sun, 2020-05-31 17:34
"Zoom plans to strengthen the encryption of its service for paying customers," reports Newsweek, "but the upgrade will not be available to users of its free service." Zoom security consultant Alex Stamos later confirmed the details of the reported move in an interview with Reuters, which first reported the changes on Friday. But he also told the news outlet that Zoom's plans could still change. "The CEO is looking at different arguments," Stamos said. "The current plan is paid customers plus enterprise accounts where the company knows who they are." In the wake of privacy concerns, he added that Zoom was making significant efforts to upgrade safety and trust on its platform. In an emailed statement to Newsweek, a Zoom spokesperson said: "Zoom's approach to end-to-end encryption is very much a work in progress — everything from our draft cryptographic design, which was just published last week, to our continued discussions around which customers it would apply to." The tech company's plans to boost the encryption of video calls on its platform have been revealed a month after it was reported that half a million Zoom account credentials were being sold on the Dark Web. Zoom's increased usage during lockdowns brought increase scrutiny, reports CNET, which "revealed several Zoom security problems and the fact that an earlier Zoom boast of end-to-end encryption was baseless."

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Ask Slashdot: Why is Microsoft Blocking Its Own Server Pages?

Sun, 2020-05-31 16:34
Long-time Slashdot reader lpq writes: I followed a link that pointed at a Microsoft security advisory about ".lnk" files. The original link, https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/technet/security/advisory/2286198.mspx, produced this message: Your request has been blocked. This may be due to several reasons. 1. You are using a proxy that is known to send automated requests to Microsoft. Check with your network administrator if there is any proxy and what User-Agent they are sending in the request header. 2. Your request pattern matches an automated process. To eliminate, reduce the volume of requests over a period of time. 3. Reference ID: 41.70790b91.4823110533.409105b4 It turns out the advisory number doesn't matter, just the extension for "Active Microsoft Server Page" (https.../.mspx) at the end. I guess there were too many security advisory lookups for MS to handle! *snort*! The .mspx extension indicates a page using a special internal Microsoft rendering framework with a custom web handler (built in ASP.Net). But I ran some tests Saturday, and observed the exact same glitch described above using three different browsers — Firefox, Edge, and Brave. Anyone have a theory about what's going on? Leave your thoughts in the comments. Why is Microsoft blocking its own server pages?

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Watch NASA Astronauts on SpaceX Crew Dragon Docking with ISS

Sun, 2020-05-31 15:11
"We're less than 10 meters away..." "@AstroBehnken and @Astro_Doug are suited up, strapped in their seats and ready to be welcomed by the crew aboard the @Space_Station," NASA tweeted an hour ago. They're now just 135 meters away from the space station, and you can watch the docking live on YouTube. 1,024,406 people are already watching... "NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken reported that the capsule was performing beautifully, as they closed in for the docking," reports the Associated Press. "The gleaming white capsule was easily visible from the station, its nose cone open exposing its docking hook, as the two spacecraft zoomed a few miles apart above the Atlantic, then Africa, then Asia." It's the first time a privately built and owned spacecraft is carrying crew to the orbiting lab. Hurley, the Dragon's commander, prepared to take manual control for a brief test, then shift the capsule into automatic for the linkup, 19 hours after liftoff. In case of a problem, the astronauts slipped back into their pressurized launch suits for the docking. The three space station residents trained cameras on the incoming capsule for flight controllers at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, as well as NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. UPDATE: At 7:16 PST, soft capture was successfully completed.

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Waymo's Self-Driving Minivans Return to Phoenix, Detroit, Los Angeles, and the Bay Area

Sun, 2020-05-31 14:34
Digital Trends reports: Waymo is planning to relaunch its fleet of self-driving minivans into Bay Area streets on June 8, according to an email acquired by The Verge. However, instead of transporting passengers, the vehicles will instead focus on delivering packages for non-profit organizations #DrawTogether, which gives art kits to children, and Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired... The pending return to the Bay Area follows Waymo's restart of its testing program in Phoenix, as lockdown restrictions were eased earlier this month... The autonomous vehicles will also soon also make their way back in Detroit and Los Angeles. The Verge argues that Waymo "is the latest autonomous vehicle operator to discover that doing deliveries allows it to sidestep restrictions that would otherwise require them to keep their autonomous vehicles off the road."

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Should Maintainers of Open Source Projects Be Paid?

Sun, 2020-05-31 11:34
Matt Asay, a former COO of Canonical now working at AWS, writes "Over the last few weeks I've interviewed a range of open source project maintainers, most of which don't directly get paid for supporting their projects... Is this a bad thing?" It's not completely clear. Linux Foundation executive Chris Aniszczyk has been an outspoken opponent of open source "tip jars" that seek to sustain projects with donations. "These [open source developers] should be encouraged to start businesses or your business should hire them directly," he argues. But many such developers don't want a 9-to-5 corporate job, preferring the independence of contract work. Open source sustainability, in other words, is messy. Most open source project maintainers with whom I've spoken got started because it was a "fun" way to spend their free time. They had a variety of personal "itches" they needed to scratch. Exactly none started coding because they were hoping to get paid for that work. In fact, in some cases, it was specifically to create space from their employer that they started the project. For Datasette founder Simon Willison, for example, he "wanted a creative outlet." That is, a project that he got to have complete control over. In some ways, he said, it was perhaps "a way of blowing off steam," but really it was a place where he could express his creativity without a corporate overlord steering that creativity. See the problem...? Aniszczyk reasonably suggests that the most sustainable source of funding is a paycheck, but that's precisely what many of these developers don't want. Or, at least, they don't want a paycheck that comes with restrictions on their ability to code freely... [O]pen source sustainability will never have one, meta answer for all of open source. It's always a project-by-project analysis and, really, a founder-by-founder (or community-by-community) decision.

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Microsoft Replaces Dozens of Staff With AI for News Stories on MSN

Sun, 2020-05-31 08:34
"Workforce automation is about to cost dozens of news contractors their jobs," writes Engadget: The Seattle Times and The Guardian report that Microsoft is letting go of dozens of news contractors (about 50 in the US, 27 in the UK) after June 30th due to a shift to AI news production on MSN. The workers were responsible for choosing, editing and curating stories. The work included identifying trending news stories, planning content, and rewriting headlines, according to the Seattle Times. "It's been semi-automated for a few months but now it's full speed ahead,'' one of the terminated contractors tells them. "It's demoralizing to think machines can replace us but there you go.''

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