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Movie 'sanitizer' VidAngel files for bankruptcy

Engadget - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 16:45
Back in 2016, Hollywood studios were able to stop VidAngel from streaming sanitized versions of blockbuster hits, claiming that its system for doing so was covered under the Family Movie Act of 2005. The injunction, which VidAngel promised to appeal,...
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Snapchat Releases Halloween Costume Of Its Dancing Hot Dog Filter

GeekOlogy - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 16:30
Because people will absolutely buy it and think they're the coolest thing since pre-sliced hot dog buns, Snapchat has just released a Halloween costume version of its famous dancing hot dog filter. You can get one on Amazon through Snapchat's parent company Snap Inc. for $80. Everybody will want to take a picture with you -- you'll be the hit of the Halloween party! Oh...wait -- there's six other dancing hot dogs already here. Better luck next year. Keep going for two more shots, including one of the wiener behind the wiener.
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Twitter Plans To End Revenge Porn Next Week, Hate Speech In Two

Slashdot - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 16:20
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: In the beginning of 2017, Twitter said it would take on harassment and hate speech. CEO Jack Dorsey said the company would embrace a "completely new approach to abuse on Twitter" with open dialogue along the way. For months, though, the company has offered few details about what it would do, or when. That changed late yesterday, when Twitter posted a timeline with specific promises on actions it will take. The changes begin next week. On October 27, Twitter will expand what types of "non-consensual nudity" (aka "revenge porn") that it takes action against. The company will already act when a victim complains, but Twitter will soon act even in cases where the victims may not be aware images were taken, instances like upskirt photos and hidden webcams. "Anyone we identify as the original poster of non-consensual nudity will be suspended immediately," the October entry reads. On November 3, Twitter will ban hate imagery in profile headers and avatars, and the service will start suspending accounts "for organizations that use violence to advance their cause." The same day it will institute a policy of stopping "Unwanted Sexual Advances," although the company says it has already been taking enforcement actions on this front. Later in November, Twitter will ban "hateful display names."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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The AI That Has Nothing to Learn From Humans

Slashdot - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 15:40
An anonymous reader shares a report: Now that AlphaGo's arguably got nothing left to learn from humans -- now that its continued progress takes the form of endless training games against itself -- what do its tactics look like, in the eyes of experienced human players? We might have some early glimpses into an answer. AlphaGo Zero's latest games haven't been disclosed yet. But several months ago, the company publicly released 55 games that an older version of AlphaGo played against itself. (Note that this is the incarnation of AlphaGo that had already made quick work of the world's champions.) DeepMind called its offering a "special gift to fans of Go around the world." Since May, experts have been painstakingly analyzing the 55 machine-versus-machine games. And their descriptions of AlphaGo's moves often seem to keep circling back to the same several words: Amazing. Strange. Alien. "They're how I imagine games from far in the future," Shi Yue, a top Go player from China, has told the press. A Go enthusiast named Jonathan Hop who's been reviewing the games on YouTube calls the AlphaGo-versus-AlphaGo face-offs "Go from an alternate dimension." From all accounts, one gets the sense that an alien civilization has dropped a cryptic guidebook in our midst: a manual that's brilliant -- or at least, the parts of it we can understand. Will Lockhart, a physics grad student and avid Go player who codirected The Surrounding Game (a documentary about the pastime's history and devotees) tried to describe the difference between watching AlphaGo's games against top human players, on the one hand, and its self-paired games, on the other. According to Will, AlphaGo's moves against Ke Jie made it seem to be "inevitably marching toward victory," while Ke seemed to be "punching a brick wall." Any time the Chinese player had perhaps found a way forward, said Lockhart, "10 moves later AlphaGo had resolved it in such a simple way, and it was like, 'Poof, well that didn't lead anywhere!'" By contrast, AlphaGo's self-paired games might have seemed more frenetic. More complex. Lockhart compares them to "people sword-fighting on a tightrope."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Ford's commuter van service Chariot halts operations in San Francisco

Engadget - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 15:33
Chariot, an on-demand commuter van service owned by Ford, had to suspend it's operations in San Francisco due to compliance issues with the California Highway Patrol, according to the San Francisco Business Times.
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Veterinarian Creates Realistic Pumpkin Carving Of His Pet Pomeranian (Plus Bonus Superheroes)

GeekOlogy - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 15:30
This is a timelapse video of veterinarian Andy Manoloff creating a photo-realistic pumpkin carving (well, as photo-realistic as a pumpkin carving can be, which isn't very) of his pet Pomeranian, Sophie. He really nailed it. I was going to do the same thing for my dog but my mom yelled at me when she saw me with the knife. Also, based on this man's steady hands and precision with a razor blade, I'd feel 100% confident with him operating on me. "What did you do this time?" I really don't want to talk about it. "Did you reverse swallow a Sharpie?" I don't know what that is. "It's when you stick one too far up your--" Yes, that. I did that again. Keep going for the video, as well as several very impressive superheroes he's carved in previous years.
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Apps and gadgets for the 'Blade Runner' future we didn’t ask for

Engadget - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 15:03
Punks, monks and Harrison Ford running scared through a poisonous cityscape were just a few of the details that made the original Blade Runner feel like its environment was a standalone character in the film. It felt as alien and familiar as the way...
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Consumer Reports Refuses To Recommend Microsoft Surface Book 2

Slashdot - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 15:00
An anonymous reader writes: Earlier in the year, the review group said that problems with reliability meant that it was impossible for it to recommend any Microsoft laptop or tablet. Now Consumer Reports says that this extends to the Surface Book 2, meaning that the device will not be recommended. Microsoft is likely to be similarly disappointed with Consumer Reports' statement about the Surface Book 2. Speaking to Benzinga, Consumer Reports' spokesperson James McQueen said: "We will evaluate the performance of the Microsoft Surface Book 2 once we get it into our labs next month for testing, but we will not be able to recommend it. Our decision to withhold our recommendation of all Microsoft laptops and tablets is still in effect."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Wireless charging will make drones always ready to fly

Engadget - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 14:35
Drones are great until you realize running all those propellers, a camera, GPS and other assorted technology bits are a real drain on the battery. If you're just using one for images it's not too big of a deal. But if you're using one for surveying,...
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Sure, Why Not?: A $100 Gumball Machine That Dispenses Random Permanent Tattoo Designs

GeekOlogy - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 14:30
This is the Get What You Get gumball machine at Elm Street Tattoos in Dallas, Texas. You just pay a tattoo artist $100, and they'll give you a token to put into the machine. Whatever design comes out they'll permanently ink on you. (If you really don't like the design you can get another token for $20, but there are no refunds). Obviously, this makes the tattoo decision making process much, much easier except I already know what I want and it's a penis with dragonfly wings. Boogie, a shop employee, told the Dallas Observer, "All of these tattoos I would price out between $160 and $180 ... maybe $250." Tattoos will be completed on a first-come, first-served basis. If there's no line, you can get yours right away. If all of the artists are booked, you may have to make an appointment. Interesting. This is perfect for the person who wants a tattoo, but doesn't particularly care what it is. The old 'I don't know, just give me something.' I still remember my first tattoo like it was yesterday. It wasn't yesterday though, it was actually next Friday, I just have a time machine. Keep going for an Instagram video of somebody using the machine.
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Student Expelled After Using Hardware Keylogger to Hack School, Change Grades

Slashdot - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 14:20
Catalin Cimpanu, writing for BleepingComputer: Kansas University (KU) officials have expelled a student for installing a hardware keylogger and using the data acquired from the device to hack into the school's grading system and chang his grades. KU did not release the student's name to the public, but they said the keystroke logging device had been installed on one of the computers in its lecture halls. The student used data collected from the device to change F grades into A grades. Professors said the incident would not have been noticed if the student didn't get greedy about modifications. The hardware device the student used was a run-of-the-mill hardware keylogger that anyone can buy on Amazon or eBay for prices as low as $20. Speaking to local media, various KU professors said they hope not to see any copycats in the near future.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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FAA proposes ban on large electronics in checked baggage

Engadget - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 14:08
While most of us probably keep our laptops and other large electronics in our carry-on bags, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) still wants to avoid the risk associated with exploding lithium-ion batteries in the cargo hold of passenger aircra...
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Adobe's Scribbler AI automatically colorizes any portrait

Engadget - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 13:45
Finally! Adobe has devised a method of adding a touch of color to black and white images without all the dimension-jumping time travel (looking at you Pleasantville). At the company's Adobe MAX 2017 event on Thursday, research scientist Jingwan Lu de...
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Laptops Could Be Banned From Checked Bags on Planes Due To Fire Risk

Slashdot - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 13:40
Readers share a report: Laptops could be banned from checked baggage on planes due to a fire risk under a proposal being recommended by an international air safety panel. According to a report, an overheating laptop battery could cause a significant fire in a cargo hold that fire fighting equipment aboard the plane would not be able to extinguish. That could "lead to the loss of the aircraft," according to the proposal. The ban will be considered by the International Civil Aviation Organization, a United Nations organization, at its meeting this month. Even if the organization endorses the proposal from its Dangerous Goods Panel, which is making the recommendation, it would be up to regulators in individual nations to pass rules to enforce it. The U.S. FAA has no comment on the proposal. But it is represented on the panel that is supporting the ban, and its research on the risk of fires from laptops is included in the proposal.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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$36,000 Houses Made From Shipping Containers

GeekOlogy - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 13:30
This is an example of one of the shipping container homes built by MODS International and available for purchase on Amazon for around $36,000 (plus ~$4,000 shipping). Each 320-square foot home (twice the size of my current apartment) comes complete with a bedroom, bathroom (with shower, toilet and sink), a kitchenette, living area, dying area (just kidding you can do that anywhere), appliances, and heating and air conditioning. Plus you can presumably ship yourself to a different location if you get tired of where you're living/the cops are closing in. I'm going to buy one then ship myself around the world aboard a cargo ship. Bon voyage! "You're going to die." I'm already dead. Keep going for more shots of the interior and exterior.
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YouTube Red's next show is a Tinder dating comedy

Engadget - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 13:22
YouTube Red, the company's premium service, has a built up a stable of original programming, but for the most part they don't resemble traditional TV shows. Now, YouTube is trying a different tactic. The company has greenlighted Swipe Right, a comedy...
Categories: Nerd News

Smartwatches For Kids Are a Total Privacy Nightmare

Slashdot - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 13:00
An anonymous reader shares a report: Kids' smartwatches are usually intended to help parents feel at ease that their children are safe when they're not around. But as it turns out, a number of these devices may do more harm than good. A 49-page report on smartwatches for children details all the ways in which they are a security nightmare. The report (PDF), conducted by the Norwegian Consumer Council (NCC) and European security firm Mnemonic, analyzed four kids' smartwatches -- Gator 2, Tinitell, Viksfjord, and Xplora. According the NCC's report, two of the aforementioned devices were vulnerable to hackers, affording them the ability to remotely control the apps on the device. Through a breached device, the NCC says a hacker could access information on a child's whereabouts in real-time, uncover their personal information, and even communicate with the child. What's more, one of the devices could allow someone "with some technical knowledge" to discreetly listen to the child's surroundings. Beyond these gross invasions of privacy, the Council said certain key features of these devices -- an SOS button and a feature that alerts parents when kids leave virtual boundaries -- were unreliable. The report also notes issues regarding collecting user data -- only one of the product's terms and services allowed parents to opt in to or out of data collection. And one watch, the Xplora app, gave up children's data to marketers, the NCC said.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Tech companies unite to fight for Dreamers

Engadget - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 12:59
In September, President Trump announced that he would phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which offers protections to undocumented immigrants who came to the US at a young age. This week, Reuters reported that Google,...
Categories: Nerd News

Fake iPhone X has a fake notch, obviously

Engadget - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 12:36
We're only one week away from iPhone X pre-orders, but the counterfeit market is already offering a variety of similar-looking devices to a particular crowd. As I anticipated, I came across one such clone while wandering around Hong Kong's Global Sou...
Categories: Nerd News

HalloweenSoundboard: A Sweet Website To Make Your Own Halloween Music

GeekOlogy - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 12:30
Note: This is just a picture, you actually have to go to the website to experiment yourself. This is Halloweensoundboard.com, a Halloween themed soundboard website created by sound designer Matt McCorkle that allows visitors to 'experiment with eerie ambiances, twist music into otherworldly soundscapes, and play sounds reminiscent of horror movies.' I just spent twenty minutes making the perfect Halloween track to play at my party. I especially like the Skeleton song instrumentation. This party is going to be so great! "Nobody is going to show up." Nope, only the corpses I reanimate with black magic. Plus, okay, probably the cops again. Thanks to hairless, who hasn't bobbed for apples since he was five. That's too long! (Unless you just turned six)
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