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Verizon Wireless has no new plans for rollover data

Ars Technica - Fri, 23/01/2015 - 21:30

AT&T and T-Mobile both recently began offering rollover data options to their postpaid subscribers, but Verizon Wireless apparently has no such plans.

Verizon CFO Fran Shammo "said the nation's largest wireless carrier by subscribers would not follow its rivals and allow consumers to move unused data into future billing cycles," CNET reported yesterday."We're a leader, not a follower," Shammo said in an interview with CNET.

Verizon didn't match AT&T's 2007 decision to offer voice minute rollovers to customers, either. "We did not go to places where we did not financially want to go to save a customer," Shammo said. "And there's going to be certain customers who leave us for price, and we are just not going to compete with that because it doesn't make financial sense for us to do that."

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Uber’s Privacy Woes Should Serve As a Cautionary Tale for All Companies

Wired - Fri, 23/01/2015 - 20:43

Revelations from the Washington Post and others are bringing to light growing concern that every Uber employee, and apparently interviewee, is allowed unlimited access to customer data. For instance, one article described how the company’s employees use a feature called “God View” that allows tracking of all Uber customers in real time; that information has then been […]

The post Uber’s Privacy Woes Should Serve As a Cautionary Tale for All Companies appeared first on WIRED.

Microsoft Continues Its March Toward Open Source With Latest Acquisition

Wired - Fri, 23/01/2015 - 20:24

Microsoft has agreed to acquire open-source software company Revolution Analytics, heavily embracing the R programming language, a data analysis tool widely used by both academics and corporate data scientists. The software giant announced the deal on Friday, but did not disclose the terms. Revolution Analytics is best known for offering developer tools for use with […]

The post Microsoft Continues Its March Toward Open Source With Latest Acquisition appeared first on WIRED.

New Windows 10 build released

OS news - Fri, 23/01/2015 - 20:08
Some of the new features that Joe demoed on Wednesday will be available for our Windows Insiders starting today with our newest build - 9926. However, not everything you saw on Wednesday is included in this new build. Much is still in-progress and we’re getting it out to you as fast as we can - so you can try it out and give us feedback. Over the course of the next few builds, you will see us refine Windows 10 and continue to improve the experiences as well as quality and stability. This new build contains the first set of features unveiled earlier this week. Neowin has a bunch of screenshots.

SkyMall parent company files for bankruptcy, CEO blames electronic devices

Ars Technica - Fri, 23/01/2015 - 20:07

SkyMall LLC, the company behind those absurd in-flight shopping catalogs that are often stuffed in the seat-back pocket on many airlines, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Phoenix on Thursday. SkyMall is owned by Xhibit Corp., whose CEO Scott Wiley said that the growth of electronic devices and in-flight Wi-Fi threatened the profitability of the marketing rag.

Most people know SkyMall as a catalog full of wacky or ridiculous products to flip through while you're trapped in a tube hurtling through the air at hundreds of miles per hour. Some of the products made dubious claims (like this hiccup stick), others were fantastic and borderline nuts/genius (like the SkySaver). Other things were really only for the tackiest person you know (like this NFL high heel wine holder). Some of the electronic stuff was actually kind of neat, though (in recent years I noted an uptick in robots and drones in SkyMall's illustrious pages).

In its bankruptcy filing (PDF), Xhibit wrote, “Historically, the SkyMall catalog was the sole in-flight option for potential purchasers of products to review while traveling. With the increased use of electronic devices on planes, fewer people browsed the SkyMall in-flight catalog.” The company added that the Federal Aviation Administration's recent decision to allow gadget use during takeoff and landing exacerbated the problem, as did the increasing number of airlines that offer in-flight Wi-Fi.

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US recommends emergency braking tech on all new cars

Ars Technica - Fri, 23/01/2015 - 19:57

The top American automobile regulator added two important advancements in braking technology to a list of recommended safety measures, likely paving the way for making these braking features mandatory in cars sold in the United States.

In a statement released Thursday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said that it would add crash imminent braking and dynamic brake support to its New Car Assessment Program (NCAP). The program is designed to help consumers make better choices about choosing safer cars.

Crash imminent braking, as the name implies, uses on-board sensors to detect when a crash is about to happen and then deploy the brakes if the driver has not already done so. Similarly, dynamic brake support increases the braking power if the driver hasn’t depressed the braking pedal sufficiently. These features are already available in some high-end cars.

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Is Keeping Things Simple the Wearable Industry’s Way Forward?

Wired - Fri, 23/01/2015 - 19:49

Humans have a natural characteristic of living inside their own head and think that the way it works in their head is similar to how it works in someone else’s head. Chances are that the person who will read this article belongs to the 5% of people who naturally feel excited about the future, when […]

The post Is Keeping Things Simple the Wearable Industry’s Way Forward? appeared first on WIRED.

January update to the Windows 10 preview now out

Ars Technica - Fri, 23/01/2015 - 19:35

The January update to the Windows 10 Insider Program is now out. If you haven't signed up for it, you can do so here. Existing installs, both on the fast and slow track, will update automatically.

Where first Windows 10 Technical Preview releases were barebones with a new Start menu and not a whole lot else, the new builds are much more complete, including the Continuum feature to adapt the user interface on 2-in-1 devices and Cortana on the desktop. Microsoft's new Web browser codenamed Project Spartan isn't in this build; it will be coming in a future update.

System requirements remain modest, as Microsoft continues to work to make an operating system that's a good match even for $100 tablets. Any Windows 8.1-spec system should work, and that means 1GB RAM (for 32-bit) or 2GB RAM (for 64-bit), 16GB permanent storage, and DirectX 9 graphics.

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Student detained at airport for having Arabic flashcards settles suit

Ars Technica - Fri, 23/01/2015 - 19:28

Nicholas Geroge. ACLU A former college student detained for hours at Philadelphia International Airport because he was carrying Arabic flashcards has settled his lawsuit against the US government, according to court papers the American Civil Liberties Union unveiled Friday.

The $25,000 settlement (PDF)—dated Wednesday—ends five years of litigation that commenced after Nicholas George was detained for having Arabic-English flashcards with words like "terrorist" and bomb." He was 21 at the time and on his way to California, where he was a senior at Pomona College majoring in physics and Middle Eastern studies.

"At the metal detector at airport security, Transportation Security Administration agents asked me to empty my pockets. I took the set of flashcards from my pocket and handed them to the officers. After I cleared the metal detector, they asked me to step aside for additional screening," he wrote in a blog post Friday. "One of them started rifling through the cards, and another took the book out of my carry-on. The minutes ticked by, and I got more confused about why I was being detained and more concerned that I would miss my flight. One of them called a supervisor."

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Box Shares Surge in the First Big IPO of 2015

Wired - Fri, 23/01/2015 - 19:10

Almost a year after it publicly filed for an IPO, Box finally made its debut on Wall Street on Friday morning. The market’s reaction was rather favorable.

The post Box Shares Surge in the First Big IPO of 2015 appeared first on WIRED.

Grey Goo Review: A real-time strategy throwback that moves forward

Ars Technica - Fri, 23/01/2015 - 19:05
The multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) genre is definitely a hot commodity in the gaming industry. Every brand and publisher seems to be dipping its toes into the waters plumbed by League of Legends and Dota 2. The genre didn’t spring fully formed from those modern games, though; its current success owes a debt to a genre that has largely fallen away in the interim—the real-time strategy (RTS) game.

To remembers how big RTS games were, you need to have been playing games since before Blizzard added “World of” to its Warcraft franchise. That moment was the beginning of the RTS decline; even Starcraft 2, one of Blizzard's RTS pillars, has seen its popularity plunge in favor of MOBAs' free-to-play pastures.

But the RTS genre is now getting some new attention in the form of Grey Goo. This indie outing comes courtesy of Petroglyph Studios, a developer made up from remnants of the old RTS masters at Westwood Studios (Command and Conquer, Dune II). While Petroglyph has been around for more than a decade, its last notable creation was Universe at War: Earth Assault, a 2007 release that was a flagship of Games for Windows Live (remember that?). Can Grey Goo revitalize a genre?

Simple story, enhanced interface

Grey Goo is a throwback to the simplistic storylines of the RTS games of old. You have your three warring factions, a sci-fi super-substance that fuels everyone's economies, and the promise of a greater, fourth threat that just might bring them all together in the end. "Grey goo" might as well describe the game's premise, given that it's an indistinguishable glob of science fiction game tropes catalyzed by some surprisingly plentiful (and gorgeous) cutscenes.

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Richard Hartmann: Release Critical Bug report for Week 04

Planet Debian - Fri, 23/01/2015 - 18:59

The UDD bugs interface currently knows about the following release critical bugs:

  • In Total: 1117 (Including 191 bugs affecting key packages)
    • Affecting Jessie: 187 (key packages: 116) That's the number we need to get down to zero before the release. They can be split in two big categories:
      • Affecting Jessie and unstable: 132 (key packages: 89) Those need someone to find a fix, or to finish the work to upload a fix to unstable:
        • 24 bugs are tagged 'patch'. (key packages: 15) Please help by reviewing the patches, and (if you are a DD) by uploading them.
        • 4 bugs are marked as done, but still affect unstable. (key packages: 3) This can happen due to missing builds on some architectures, for example. Help investigate!
        • 104 bugs are neither tagged patch, nor marked done. (key packages: 71) Help make a first step towards resolution!
      • Affecting Jessie only: 55 (key packages: 27) Those are already fixed in unstable, but the fix still needs to migrate to Jessie. You can help by submitting unblock requests for fixed packages, by investigating why packages do not migrate, or by reviewing submitted unblock requests.
        • 25 bugs are in packages that are unblocked by the release team. (key packages: 8)
        • 30 bugs are in packages that are not unblocked. (key packages: 19)

>How do we compare to the Squeeze and Wheezy release cycles?

Week Squeeze Wheezy Jessie 43 284 (213+71) 468 (332+136) 319 (240+79) 44 261 (201+60) 408 (265+143) 274 (224+50) 45 261 (205+56) 425 (291+134) 295 (229+66) 46 271 (200+71) 401 (258+143) 427 (313+114) 47 283 (209+74) 366 (221+145) 342 (260+82) 48 256 (177+79) 378 (230+148) 274 (189+85) 49 256 (180+76) 360 (216+155) 226 (147+79) 50 204 (148+56) 339 (195+144) ??? 51 178 (124+54) 323 (190+133) 189 (134+55) 52 115 (78+37) 289 (190+99) 147 (112+35) 1 93 (60+33) 287 (171+116) 140 (104+36) 1 93 (60+33) 287 (171+116) 140 (104+36) 2 82 (46+36) 271 (162+109) 157 (124+33) 3 25 (15+10) 249 (165+84) 172 (128+44) 4 14 (8+6) 244 (176+68) 187 (132+55) 5 2 (0+2) 224 (132+92) 6 release! 212 (129+83) 7 release+1 194 (128+66) 8 release+2 206 (144+62) 9 release+3 174 (105+69) 10 release+4 120 (72+48) 11 release+5 115 (74+41) 12 release+6 93 (47+46) 13 release+7 50 (24+26) 14 release+8 51 (32+19) 15 release+9 39 (32+7) 16 release+10 20 (12+8) 17 release+11 24 (19+5) 18 release+12 2 (2+0)

Graphical overview of bug stats thanks to azhag:

Live chat today: Ars in China

Ars Technica - Fri, 23/01/2015 - 18:35
View Liveblog2015-01-23T12:00:00-06:00

With Lee Hutchinson about to grab the mic and tell us about visiting Munich, we're wrapping up my time in the spotlight by doing a live Q&A. At 1pm Eastern tomorrow, I'll set up a live chat and field questions about anything that interests you, from sichuan peppers to real-time control software. I'd also be happy to talk a bit about the differences between academic and commercial research, as well as the challenges of making sure that the results of your research can be mass produced.

If people have questions about science, or the challenges of writing about it, I'd be happy to field those, too. So stop by tomorrow and say hi.

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Britons: You Have 72 Hours to Stop The Snooper's Charter

EFF Breaking News - Fri, 23/01/2015 - 18:35

Directly after the Charlie Hebdo massacre, we cautioned the public and politicians to be "wary of any attempt to rush through new surveillance and law enforcement powers." With depressing predictability, we've already seen that happen across the continent. Nowhere, however, has the attempt to bypass democratic debate been more blatant than in the United Kingdom, where a handful of unelected peers has taken the language of an old and discredited Internet surveillance proposal, and attempted to slam it, at outrageously short notice, into the wording of a near-complete counter-terrorism bill.

The result is that, unless you take action to warn Britain's House of Lords in time for the debate on Monday, there is a good chance that Britain will pass the infamous Snooper's Charter into law with barely any oversight.

On Thursday, Lords Blair, King, West, and Carlile delivered over eighteen pages of amendments to the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill, which is currently being debated in Britain's upper house, the House of Lords. While the House of Lords is unelected, the majority of its members are appointed by past and present British governments: the four peers have all been involved in police, military or intelligence oversight positions.

Their amendments are the core of the previously proposed, and rejected, Communications Data Bill, which would require ISPs to harvest and store data taken from their subscribers' online traffic, and hand this over to the government without a warrant.

The bill, called the Snooper's Charter since the UK's coalition government first proposed it in 2012, has been repeatedly criticized, and was currently sitting in parliamentary limbo after Nick Clegg, the leader of the coalition partners the Liberal Democrats, finally withdrew his party's support for its contents.

The peers' new amendments include some hasty rephrasing to cover some of the most obvious flaws in previous versions of the bill (now only the police and intelligence services have free rein to access your private metadata, as opposed to dozens of government bureaucracies anticipated in the original bill). But Parliament had more worries than just who had access to the data. The previous draft was examined by a joint committee of Lords and Members of Parliament, who unanimously rejected it, saying its cost estimates were "fanciful and misleading," and its privacy protections were "insufficient."

Even legal meaning of the new language is unclear, as the peers have declined to supply any explanatory notes to justify their new wording. But then, perhaps they did not expect to be called upon to explain to any degree of detail, given the tiny window of opportunity they have granted the rest of Parliament to examine the bill. The amendments announced on Thursday will be formally included into the bill on Monday, in a committee meeting that was not planned to include a vote. The Lords will then have two more minor opportunities to debate the content of the bill before it is passed onto the elected House of Commons in its entirety for what is expected to be a simple up/down vote. Britain's members of parliament are currently distracted as they prepare for nationwide elections in May, which means it is highly likely that a major anti-terrorism bill like this will collect enough votes to pass.

Early indications from conversations with our colleagues at the UK's Open Rights Group indicate that there's growing discontent among parliamentarians about how these amendments are being used to bypass parliamentary oversight. However, that's just the peers that have been paying attention. Dozens more would potentially step in to block the bill if they even knew what was happening before Monday.

That's where you come in. If you're a British citizen, you need to tell the members of the House of Lords that their right to analyze and discuss this legislation is being bypassed. We've set up an action alert for UK Internet users, so that you can send messages to the Twitter accounts of UK peers (you would be surprised how many British Lords use Twitter). You can also write to members of the House of Lords through the free service WriteToThem.com, but given the time frame, tweeting or phone calls are much better. Your actions in the next seventy-two hours may make all the difference.

Related Issues: InternationalMandatory Data Retention
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Sony offers digital rewards to victims of 2011 PSN hack

Ars Technica - Fri, 23/01/2015 - 18:27

The wheels of the American justice system turn slowly, but they've finally ground out some compensation for those affected by the 2011 PlayStation Network hack and the resulting service outage. Thanks to a legal settlement resulting from a class-action lawsuit, US residents who were a member of PlayStation Network, owned a Sony Online Entertainment game, or subscribed to music service Qriocity between January 1 and May 15, 2011 can now file a claim for compensation.

For most users, that compensation will come in the form of digital goods, including a free PS3 theme, three months of PlayStation Plus (only available to new subscribers), and/or a downloadable code for one of the following PS3/PSP games.

  • Dead Nation (PS3)
  • Infamous (PS3)
  • LittleBigPlanet (PS3)
  • Super Stardust HD (PS3)
  • rain (PS3)
  • Puppeteer (PS3)
  • Invizimals: Lost Kingdom (PS3)
  • God of War® HD (PS3)
  • Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror (PSP)
  • LittleBigPlanet (PSP)
  • ModNation Racers (PSP)
  • Patapon 3 (PSP)
  • WipEout Pure (PSP)

Users who previously took a free game from Sony's "Welcome Back" promotion, when PSN service returned in 2011, will be able to choose from one of the digital reward options. Others will be able to choose up to two. Users can get an additional digital reward if they can prove that they had no way to access Netflix or Hulu Plus subscriptions during the 23 days PSN was out of service.

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Verizon nears “the end” of FiOS builds

Ars Technica - Fri, 23/01/2015 - 18:20

It's been nearly five years since Verizon decided to stop expanding its FiOS fiber network into new cities and towns, so this week's news won't come as a huge surprise: Verizon is nearing "the end" of its fiber construction and is reducing wireline capital expenditures while spending more on wireless.

"I have been pretty consistent with this in the fact that we will spend more CapEx in the Wireless side and we will continue to curtail CapEx on the Wireline side. Some of that is because we are getting to the end of our committed build around FiOS, penetration is getting higher," Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said yesterday in the Q4 2014 call with investors.

Wireline capital spending totaled $1.6 billion in the most recent quarter and $5.8 billion for 2014, down 7.7 percent from 2013, Verizon said.

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Bloodhound SSC tests its 1,000 mph communications system

Ars Technica - Fri, 23/01/2015 - 18:00

We’ve been unapologetic about our love for the Bloodhound SSC project, which hopes to make a new land speed record attempt by clearing 1,000 mph. Education is also key to the project, as the Rolls Royce EJ200 jet engine came from the UK government with the proviso that the record attempt incorporate a strong STEM education aspect to it. The result, for us, has been a steady stream of updates as the car takes shape in its English workshop.

But the action isn’t just confined to dear old Blightly. The land speed record attempt will take place on the Hakskeen Pan in South Africa, where an advance team is already working hard to make sure everything goes to plan.

The latest update involves the team's custom communications set up, which will allow Bloodhound SSC to stream telemetry and video data back to mission control as the car blasts past at 1,000 mph. The communications system, built by MTN and Poynting Antennas, a pair of South African telecoms companies, is a custom 4G LTE network that is focused on a ground-based antenna. It provides 4MB/s bandwidth, which should be sufficient for Bloodhound’s three 720p video feeds as well as more than 300 different sensors on the vehicle.

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Is this the Earnest, Fast-Paced Future of Science Communication?

Wired - Fri, 23/01/2015 - 17:10

Jason Silva is bringing his guileless sense of wonder—and taste for scientific rigor—to a new show on National Geographic.

The post Is this the Earnest, Fast-Paced Future of Science Communication? appeared first on WIRED.

EFF Receives $3 Million Dollar Donation to Fund Legal Work

EFF Breaking News - Fri, 23/01/2015 - 17:06
Senior Staff Attorney Lee Tien to Be New Adams Chair for Internet Rights

San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has received a $3 million dollar grant from the Adams Charitable Foundation to fund the new Adams Chair for Internet Rights. The donation is being held in an endowment to permanently fund a position on EFF's legal team.

EFF Senior Staff Attorney Lee Tien has been selected to be the first Adams Chair. Since joining EFF nearly 15 years ago, Tien has fought to preserve our freedom to speak, read, associate, and innovate without fear of surveillance, and for the right to develop and use technology that enhances digital civil liberties. Tien has been a key member of EFF's legal team challenging the NSA's massive expansion into domestic spying, including Hepting v. AT&T—the first major lawsuit about illegal collection of phone records data from millions of ordinary Americans, originally filed in 2006.

"EFF is grateful for the support of the Adams Charitable Foundation," said EFF Executive Director Shari Steele. "The Adams Chair for Internet Rights will provide support for EFF's legal work for years to come."


Rebecca Jeschke
   Media Relations Director
   Electronic Frontier Foundation

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An Ode to SkyMall as It Files for Bankruptcy

Wired - Fri, 23/01/2015 - 16:44

SkyMall was a tradition. An absurd, capitalistic embodiment of everything that was shallow and wrong with our lives, and yet it also brought us comfort.

The post An Ode to SkyMall as It Files for Bankruptcy appeared first on WIRED.

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