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How Microsoft embraced 'messy’ creativity with Windows Ink

Engadget - 18 min 26 sec ago
Windows Ink isn't Microsoft's first stab at bringing stylus support to PCs -- that would be Windows XP Tablet Edition -- but it is the company's most successful. It made stylus support a core part of Windows 10, and it's a big reason you're seeing so...
Categories: Nerd News

Tech Companies To Lobby For Immigrant 'Dreamers' To Remain In US

Slashdot - 48 min 26 sec ago
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: Nearly two dozen major companies in technology and other industries are planning to launch a coalition to demand legislation that would allow young, illegal immigrants a path to permanent residency, according to documents seen by Reuters. The Coalition for the American Dream intends to ask Congress to pass bipartisan legislation this year that would allow these immigrants, often referred to as "Dreamers," to continue working in the United States, the documents said. Alphabet Inc's Google, Microsoft Corp, Amazon.com Inc, Facebook Inc, Intel Corp, Uber Technologies Inc, IBM Corp, Marriott International Inc and other top U.S. companies are listed as members, one of the documents shows. The push for this legislation comes after President Donald Trump's September decision to allow the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to expire in March. That program, established by former President Barack Obama in 2012, allows approximately 900,000 illegal immigrants to obtain work permits. Some 800 companies signed a letter to Congressional leaders after Trump's decision, calling for legislation protecting Dreamers. That effort was spearheaded by a pro-immigration reform group Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg co-founded in 2013 called FWD.us.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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The Morning After: Weekend Edition

Engadget - 1 hour 48 min ago
Hey, good morning! You look fabulous. Welcome to the weekend. We'll recap this week's news highlights, plus big stories from Friday like Project Loon-distributed internet going live in Puerto Rico.
Categories: Nerd News

Tim Cook Confirms the Mac Mini Isn't Dead

Slashdot - 3 hours 48 min ago
Apple has refreshed just about every Mac product within the last couple of years -- except for the Mac Mini. Naturally, this has left many analysts questioning whether or not the company would be phasing out the Mini to focus more on its mobile devices. A MacRumors reader decided to email Apple CEO Tim Cook to get an update on the Mac mini and he received a response. Cook said it was "not time to share any details," but he confirmed that the Mac mini will be an important part of the company's product lineup in the future. MacRumors reports: Cook's response echoes a similar statement from Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller, who commented on the Mac mini when Apple's plans for a new Mac Pro were unveiled. "The Mac mini is an important product in our lineup and we weren't bringing it up because it's more of a mix of consumer with some pro use," he said. Positioned as a "bring your own peripherals" machine that comes without a mouse, keyboard, or display, the Mac mini is Apple's most affordable desktop machine. The current version is woefully outdated though, and continues to use Haswell processors and integrated Intel HD 5000/Intel Iris Graphics. It's not clear when Apple will introduce a new Mac mini, and aside from a single rumor hinting at a new high-end Mac mini with a redesign that "won't be so mini anymore," we've heard no rumors about work on a possible Mac mini refresh.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Google's annual report shows more web traffic is encrypted

Engadget - 4 hours 49 min ago
For several years now, Google has been exerting pressure to increase the usage of HTTPS across the internet. By defaulting to secure connections on both ends, users can be protected from anyone who may intercept or even manipulate data as it flows ba...
Categories: Nerd News

The US Government Keeps Spectacularly Underestimating Solar Energy Installation

Slashdot - 6 hours 48 min ago
Michael J. Coren reports via Quartz: Every two years, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), America's official source for energy statistics, issues 10-year projections about how much solar, wind and conventional energy the future holds for the U.S. Every two years, since the mid-1990s, the EIA's projections turn out to be wrong. Last year, they proved spectacularly wrong. The Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental advocacy group, and Statista recently teamed up to analyze the EIA's predictions for energy usage and production. They found that the EIA's 10-year estimates between 2006 to 2016 systematically understated the share of wind, solar and gas. Solar capacity, in particular, was a whopping 4,813% more in 2016 than the EIA had predicted in 2006 it would be. To be fair, there is a caveat here: The prediction in 2006 was that 10 years hence the U.S. would be generating just 0.8 gigawatts (GW) of solar energy. With such a low baseline figure, any increase will look huge in percentage terms. Nonetheless, there is an unmistakable trend in the data: The EIA regularly underestimates the growth in renewables but overestimates U.S. fossil-fuel consumption, which some critics see as an attempt to boost the oil and gas industry.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Apple's Upgrade Program offers a 'head start' on iPhone X

Engadget - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 22:59
While initial pre-orders for the iPhone X are still a week away from opening, some Apple die-hards will be able to get started early. Apple's installment-based Upgrade Program that lets customers get a new phone every year will, just like it did with...
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Body Camera Study Shows No Effect On Police Use of Force Or Citizen Complaints

Slashdot - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 22:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from NPR: Having police officers wear little cameras seems to have no discernible impact on citizen complaints or officers' use of force, at least in the nation's capital. That's the conclusion of a study performed as Washington, D.C., rolled out its huge camera program. The city has one of the largest forces in the country, with some 2,600 officers now wearing cameras on their collars or shirts. In the wake of high-profile shootings, many police departments have been rapidly adopting body-worn cameras, despite a dearth of solid research on how the technology can change policing. "We need science, rather than our speculations about it, to try to answer and understand what impacts the cameras are having," says David Yokum, director of the Lab @ DC. His group worked with local police officials to make sure that cameras were handed out in a way that let the researchers carefully compare officers who were randomly assigned to get cameras with those who were not. The study ran from June 2015 to last December. It's to be expected that these cameras might have little impact on the behavior of police officers in Washington, D.C., he says, because this particular force went through about a decade of federal oversight to help improve the department.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Vector plans three 'microsatellite' launches in Virginia

Engadget - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 21:02
Virginia's governor announced that microsatellite delivery company Vector has arranged a trio of launches from the state's spaceport on Wallops Island. While the notice gave no information on the payloads or customers, they will be very small compare...
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Software Developer Creates Personal Cryptocurrency

Slashdot - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 20:25
mirandakatz writes: If you want to pick Evan Prodromou's brain -- as many people often do -- you'll have to pay him. And not just a consulting fee: You'll have to pay him in his own personal cryptocurrency, dubbed Evancoin. Currently, 20 days after his Initial Coin Offering, a single Evancoin is worth $45. As Prodromou tells Scott Rosenberg at Backchannel, "I'm not above a stunt! But in this case I'm really serious about exploring how cryptocurrency is changing what we can do with money and how we think about it. Money is this sort of consensual hallucination, and I wanted to experiment around that." The story goes on to explain what, exactly, goes into creating a personal cryptocurrency, and whether Evancoin could becoming a phenomenon that spreads.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Senators want to know if Apple fought back on China's VPN ban

Engadget - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 19:54
Apple CEO Tim Cook wasn't pleased about pulling VPN software from the company's App Store in China, but this July, it happened anyway. As a result, many users who once counted on such software to dodge the country's Great Firewall were left to their...
Categories: Nerd News

Elon Musk Begins Digging a Hyperloop Tunnel In Maryland

Slashdot - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 19:45
Elon Musk has been granted permission by Maryland to start digging tunnels for his hyperoop transit system that he wants to build between New York and Washington. "Hogan administration officials said Thursday the state has issued a conditional utility permit to let Musk's tunneling firm, The Boring Co., dig a 10.3-mile tunnel beneath the state-owned portion of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, between the Baltimore city line and Maryland 175 in Hanover," reports Baltimore Sun. From the report: It would be the first portion of the underground system that Musk says could eventually ferry passengers from Washington to New York, with stops in Baltimore and Philadelphia, in just 29 minutes. Maryland's approval is the first step of many needed to complete the multibillion-dollar project. Gov. Larry Hogan toured a site in Hanover that aides said could become an entry point for the hyperloop. The state does not plan to contribute to the cost of the project, aides said. Administration officials said they will treat the hyperloop like a utility, and permitted it in the same way the state allows electric companies to burrow beneath public rights-of-way. It was not immediately clear Thursday what environmental review or other permitting procedures must be completed before the company breaks ground.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Vungle CEO Arrested For Child Rape and Attempted Murder

Slashdot - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 19:07
Freshly Exhumed writes: Axios is working to get details about a revelation on a government website that Vungle CEO Zain Jaffer is facing charges at the Maple Street Correctional Center in Redwood City, California of attempted murder, a lewd act on a child, oral copulation of a person under 14, child abuse, assault with a deadly weapon and battery upon an officer and emergency personnel. Vungle is self-described on its website as "the leading in-app video advertising platform for performance marketers," and was founded by Jaffer in 2011. Vungle has since issued a statement: "While we do not have any information that is not in the public record at this point, these are extremely serious allegations, and we are shocked beyond words. While these are only preliminary charges, they are obviously so serious that it led to the immediate removal of Mr. Jaffer from any operational responsibility at the company. The company stressed that this matter has nothing to do with Mr. Jaffer's former role at the company." Axios notes that "the San Francisco-based company has raised over $25 million in VC funding from firms like Google Ventures, Thomvest Ventures, Crosslink Capital, SoftTech VC and 500 Startups."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Razer’s new webcam and microphone are made for streamers

Engadget - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 18:44
Razer is known as a gaming laptop, mouse and keyboard maker, but it actually offers a wide variety of products, like Xbox controllers, power banks, and even an upcoming phone. Razer also makes webcams like the Stargazer, which is built for streaming...
Categories: Nerd News

Google Says 64 Percent of Chrome Traffic On Android Now Protected With HTTPS, 75 Percent On Mac, 66 Percent On Windows

Slashdot - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 18:20
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Google's push to make the web more secure by flagging sites using insecure HTTP connections appears to be working. The company announced today that 64 percent of Chrome traffic on Android is now protected, up 42 percent from a year ago. In addition, over 75 percent of Chrome traffic on both ChromeOS and Mac is now protected, up from 60 percent on Mac and 67 percent on ChromeOS a year ago. Windows traffic is up to 66 percent from 51 percent. Google also notes that 71 of the top 100 websites now use HTTPS by default, up from 37 percent a year ago. In the U.S., HTTPS usage in Chrome is up from 59 percent to 73 percent. Combined, these metrics paint a picture of fairly rapid progress in the switchover to HTTPS. This is something that Google has been heavily pushing by flagging and pressuring sites that hadn't yet adopted HTTPS.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Arkansas Will Pay Up To $1,000 Cash To Kids Who Pass AP Computer Science A Exam

Slashdot - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 17:40
theodp writes: The State of Arkansas will be handing out cash to high school students who pass an Advanced Placement test in computer science. "The purpose of the incentive program is to increase the number of qualifying scores (3, 4, or 5) on Advanced Placement Computer Science A exams," explained a press release for the Arkansas Advanced Placement Computer Science A Incentive Program (only 87 Arkansas public school students passed the AP CS A exam in 2016, according to College Board data). Gov. Asa Hutchinson added, "The Arkansas Department of Education's incentive for high scores on the AP Computer Science A exam is a terrific way to reward our students for their hard work in school. The real payoff for their hard work, of course, is when they show their excellent transcripts to potential employers who offer good salaries for their skills." The tiered monetary awards call for public school students receiving a top score of 5 on the AP CS A exam to receive $1,000, with another $250 going to their schools. Scores of 4 will earn students $750 and schools $150, while a score of 3 will result in a $250 payday for students and $50 for their schools. The program evokes memories of the College Board's Google-funded AP STEM Access program, which rewarded AP STEM teachers with a $100 DonorsChoose.org gift card for each student who received a 3, 4, or 5 on an AP exam. DonorsChoose.org credits were also offered later by tech-bankrolled Code.org and Google to teachers who got their students coding.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Nerd News

Project Loon's LTE balloons are floating over Puerto Rico

Engadget - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 17:33
About a month after Hurricane Maria's devastating landfall on Puerto Rico, and a couple of weeks after the FCC gave clearance, Project Loon is bringing wireless internet to people on the island. Part of (Google parent company) Alphabet's X innovation...
Categories: Nerd News

Real Products That Exist: A Basic Cell Phone That Doubles As A Fidget Spinner

GeekOlogy - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 17:30
This is the Chilli K188 cell phone/fidget spinner from India (and available on Amazon India in a variety of colors for around 1,100 rupees, ~$17) It's a super basic cell phone (it can make and receive calls and texts) that doubles as a fidget spinner you can use while you're anxiously awaiting a return text from your crush. SPOILER: It's never coming. "Why not?" Because you own a fidget spinner cell phone. Keep going for a closeup and a video review of the phone while I invent yo-yo and slap bracelet cell phones and become a millionaire overnight. Or try to catch the tooth fairy in a jar using an animal tooth I found as bait.
Categories: Nerd News

Body Camera Giant Wants Police To Collect Your Videos Too

Slashdot - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 17:00
tedlistens shares a report from Fast Company: Axon, the police supplier formerly known as Taser and now a leading maker of police body cameras, has also charged into police software with a service that allows police to manage and eventually analyze increasingly large caches of video, like a Dropbox for cops. Now it wants to add the public's video to the mix. An online tool called Citizen, set to launch later this year, will allow police to solicit the public for photos or video in the aftermath of suspected crimes and ingest them into Axon's online data platform. Todd Basche, Axon's executive vice president for worldwide products, said the tool was designed after the company conducted surveys of police customers and the public and found that potentially valuable evidence was not being collected. "They all pointed us to the need to collect evidence that's out there in the community." [But] systems like Citizen still raise new privacy and policy questions, and could test the limits of already brittle police-community relations. Would Citizen, for instance, also be useful for gathering civilian evidence of incidents of police misconduct or brutality? [And how would ingesting citizen video into online police databases, like Axon's Evidence.com, allow police to mine it later for suspicious activity, in a sort of dragnet fashion?] "It all depends," says one observer, "on how agencies use the tool."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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