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Failure of Sprint/T-Mobile Merger Means a Missed Chance To Save $30B

Slashdot - Sun, 11/05/2017 - 15:28
UPDATE (11/5/17): Sprint and T-Mobile confirmed Saturday that they've ended their merger talks, saying they were "unable to find mutually agreeable terms." The Kansas City Star reports that the failure "means shareholders of the two companies gave up $30 billion or more in cost savings that their managements had expected a merger to generate. "One combined wireless company would have needed to invest less in its network than the two competing companies spend separately... Absent a merger, Sprint now faces a highly competitive marketplace as the smallest national player and with a more aggressive rival in T-Mobile." Several news outlets had already reported on Monday that Japan's conglomerate SoftBank, which owns Sprint, has pulled the plug on a proposed merger between the two carriers. From a report: SoftBank will reportedly propose ending merger talks with T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom as soon as Tuesday, October 31st. That's according to Nikkei, which says that SoftBank wants to end merger talks due to "a failure to agree on ownership of the combined entity." It's said that Deutsche Telekom insisted on a controlling stake of the combined T-Mobile-Sprint, and that some people at SoftBank were okay with that as long as SoftBank had some sort of influence. However, SoftBank's board recently decided that it wouldn't give up control, and today it decided that it wants to call off the merger talks. Last Monday Sprint and T-Mobile shares both fell immediately following the media reports.

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Who's to blame for the NBN? Hardly anyone remembers, or cares

TheRegister - Sun, 11/05/2017 - 14:56
Vulture South wraps the week's news of Australia's National Broadband Network

NBN WEEK Welcome to NBN Week, Reg Australia's new weekly roundup of the endless news of the nation's National Broadband Network.…

No, the Linux Desktop Hasn't Jumped in Popularity

Slashdot - Sun, 11/05/2017 - 14:20
An anonymous reader quotes ZDNet: Stories have been circulating that the Linux desktop had jumped in popularity and was used more than macOS. Alas, it's not so... These reports have been based on NetMarketShare's desktop operating system analysis, which showed Linux leaping from 2.5 percent in July, to almost 5 percent in September. But unfortunately for Linux fans, it's not true... It seems to be merely a mistake. Vince Vizzaccaro, NetMarketShare's executive marketing share of marketing told me, "The Linux share being reported is not correct. We are aware of the issue and are currently looking into it"... For the most accurate, albeit US-centric operating system and browser numbers, I prefer to use data from the federal government's Digital Analytics Program (DAP). Unlike the others, DAP's numbers come from billions of visits over the past 90 days to over 400 US executive branch government domains... DAP gets its raw data from a Google Analytics account. DAP has open-sourced the code, which displays the data on the web and its data-collection code... In the US Analytics site, which summarizes DAP's data, you will find desktop Linux, as usual, hanging out in "other" at 1.5 percent. Windows, as always, is on top with 45.9 percent, followed by Apple iOS, at 25.5 percent, Android at 18.6 percent, and macOS at 8.5 percent. The article does, however, acknowledge that Linux's real market share is probably a little higher simply because "no one, not even DAP, seems to do a good job of pulling out the Linux-based Chrome OS data."

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Mozilla Might Distrust Dutch Government Certs Over 'False Keys'

Slashdot - Sun, 11/05/2017 - 13:15
Long-time Slashdot reader Artem Tashkinov quotes BleepingComputer: Mozilla engineers are discussing plans to remove support for a state-operated Dutch TLS/HTTPS provider after the Dutch government has voted a new law that grants local authorities the power to intercept Internet communications using "false keys". If the plan is approved, Firefox will not trust certificates issued by the Staat der Nederlanden (State of the Netherlands) Certificate Authority (CA)... This new law gives Dutch authorities the powers to intercept and analyze Internet traffic. While other countries have similar laws, what makes this one special is that authorities will have authorization to carry out covert technical attacks to access encrypted traffic. Such covert technical capabilities include the use of "false keys," as mentioned in Article 45 1.b, a broad term that includes TLS certificates. "Fears arise of mass Dutch Internet surveillance," reads a subhead on the article, citing a bug report which notes, among other things, the potential for man-in-the-middle attacks and the fact that the Netherlands hosts a major internet transit point.

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Taisei – A Classy, Frenetic Shoot’em Up Game in the Style of The Touhou Project

LXer - Sun, 11/05/2017 - 12:14
Taisei is a top down perspective shoot’em up game in the style of the Touhou Project. It’s fast, furious, and good fun to play.

Hole In The Ozone Layer Smallest In 29 Years

Slashdot - Sun, 11/05/2017 - 12:10
An anonymous reader quotes the Weather Channel: The hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica is the smallest it's been since 1988, NASA said. According to a press release, the hole in the Earth's ozone layer is 1.3 million square miles smaller than last year and 3.3 million square miles smaller than 2015... This year, the hole grew to 7.6 million square miles. NASA and NOAA scientists said warmer temperatures and a stormier upper atmosphere helped keep damaging chemicals chlorine and bromine from eating ozone from the layer that protects the Earth's surface from harmful ultraviolet rays... The hole that hovers over Antarctica has been slowly recovering, scientists say, due to an international ban on harmful chemicals that were previously used in refrigerants and aerosols. The hole was its largest in 2000 and measured 11.5 million square miles. Although recovery is underway, the size of the hole remains large compared to the 1980s, when the hole was first detected, NASA noted. And while there has been significant healing of the ozone layer in recent years, some scientists say full healing is a slow process and will not occur until sometime in the 22nd century, Yale Environment 360 reports. Others expect the Antarctic ozone hole to recover back to 1980 levels around 2070, NASA said.

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New Victims in the 'Billionaire War on Journalism'

Slashdot - Sun, 11/05/2017 - 11:06
Newsweek offers a new reminder that internet journalism can vanish in a corporate shutdown or be "sued out of existence" -- so it certainly isn't permanent. Writers at the local New York City news sites DNAinfo and Gothamist -- as well as Gothamist's network of city-specific sister sites, such as LAist and DCist -- learned this chilling lesson on Thursday, when billionaire Joe Ricketts abruptly shut down the publications and fired their employees. The decision has been widely regarded as a form of retaliation in response to the newsroom's vote last week to unionize with the Writers Guild of America, East. Worse, for a full 20 hours after the news broke, Gothamist.com and DNAinfo.com effectively didn't exist: Any link to the sites showed only Ricketts's statement about his decision, which claims the business was not profitable enough to support the journalism... The larger tragedy is a nationwide death of local news. Alt-weeklies are flailing as ad revenue dries up. The Village Voice, a legendary New York paper, published its final print issue in September. Houston Press just laid off its staff and ended its print edition this week. Countless stories won't be covered, because the journalistic institutions to tell them no longer exist. Who benefits from DNAinfo being shuttered? Billionaires. Shady landlords. Anyone DNAinfo reported critically on over the years. Who loses? Anyone who lives in the neighborhoods DNAinfo and Gothamist helped cover.

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Pandora Loses 7 Million Listeners

Slashdot - Sun, 11/05/2017 - 10:02
An anonymous reader quotes the Bay Area Newsgroup: So many listeners have turned off Pandora that Friday could have been called the day the music died for the internet radio streaming pioneer. Late Thursday, Pandora said it ended its third quarter with 73.7 million active listeners, a decline of more than 7 million listeners from the 81 million it had in the same quarter a year ago. Declining listener numbers, along with weaker-than-expected advertising revenue and a disappointing fourth-quarter forecast, had investors tuning Pandora out on Friday, as the company's shares fell by almost 25 percent, to close at $5.59. Pandora still has more listeners than Apple Music, which has 27 million paying subscribers. But the Oakland-based music streaming business trails its other major rival, Spotify, which has 140 million active listeners, including 60 million who pay a monthly fee for on-demand streaming and to avoid listening to commercials with their music. For comparision, Pandora now has just 5.19 million paying subscribers for its two ad-free streaming music services.

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An iOS 11.1 Glitch Is Replacing Vowels

Slashdot - Sun, 11/05/2017 - 08:58
An anonymous reader quotes Mashable: We became privy to a new iPhone keyboard glitch after a few Mashable staffers recently started having issues with their iPhone keyboards, specifically with vowels. The issue started when iOS 11's predictive text feature began to display an odd character in the place of the letter "I," offering up "A[?] instead and autocorrecting within the message field...The bug was also covered by MacRumors, but it appears that my colleagues have even more issues than just the letter "I." One reported that they were also seeing the glitch with the letters "U" and "O" as well, making the problem strictly restricted to vowels. They also said the letters showed up oddly in iMessage on Mac devices, and shared some more screenshots of what the glitch looks like when they went through with sending a message. The glitch wasn't just limited to iMessage, however. My colleagues shared screenshots of their increasingly futile attempts to type out messages on Facebook Messenger...and Twitter. Apple seems to be acknowledging that the iOS 11.1 glitch may affect iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches. "Here's what you can do to work around the issue until it's fixed by a future software update," Apple posted on a support page, advising readers to "Try setting up Text Replacement for the letter 'i'."

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Jeff Bezos Just Sold $1.1 Billion in Amazon Stock

Slashdot - Sun, 11/05/2017 - 07:54
An anonymous reader quotes CNN Money: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the newly minted richest person in the world, just sold more than $1 billion worth of his stock. The sale was made public in a filing posted Friday. In total, Bezos let go of one million shares for $1,097,803,365. Exactly how Bezos plans to spend those Benjamins wasn't clear. But it isn't unprecedented for him to sell such a large chunk. In May, he sold more than a million shares. A similar sale was executed in August 2016. Even after his most recent sell off, Bezos still personally owns about a 16% of Amazon, which he founded in 1994. Bezos's large ownership stake helped vault him past Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates as the richest person in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire's Index... One possible destination for the cash Bezos just freed up is his commercial space company, Blue Origin. Earlier this year, Bezos told reporters at a space symposium that he sells about $1 billion per year worth of Amazon stock to fund the company, according to Reuters... Last month, Blue Origin Chief Executive Officer Bob Smith said he expects the first manned flight to take place by April 2019. One Silicon Valley newspaper calls it the biggest stock sale ever.

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Ask Slashdot: Should I Allow A 'Smart TV' To Connect To The Internet?

Slashdot - Sun, 11/05/2017 - 04:50
Slashdot reader GovCheese has a question: I use Roku and also the client apps on my gaming consoles for Amazon and Netflix. But it seems less prudent to allow my television, a Samsung, to connect to the internet. My Phillips Blu-ray wants to connect also. But I'd rather not. Is it illogical to allow Roku and a console to connect to streaming services but prevent a "smart" television from doing so? Slashdot reader gurps_npc argues there's a distinction between devices that need internet access and devices that want it, adding "Smart TVs overcharge in privacy invasion for the minimal advantages they offer." Leave your own best answers in the comments. Should you let a smart TV connect to the internet?

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10 Fascinating Things We Learned When We Asked The World

LXer - Sun, 11/05/2017 - 04:19
In August, Mozilla sent out a survey asking [he]#8220[/he]How connected are you?[he]#8220[/he] We inquired about people[he]#8217[/he]s relationships with their connected devices........The Fascinating Things We Learned When We Asked The World [he]#8216[/he]How Connected Are You?[he]#8217[/he] appeared first on The Mozilla Blog.

openSUSE Tumbleweed Users Get Latest KDE Plasma 5.11 Desktop and Mesa 17.2.3

LXer - Sun, 11/05/2017 - 02:07
Back to publishing weekly reports about the latest updates landing in the openSUSE Tumbleweed operating system, Dominique Leuenberger is reporting on the contents of the newest snapshots.

Many US States Consider Abandoning Daylight Savings Time

Slashdot - Sun, 11/05/2017 - 01:46
A special Massachusetts commission recommends the state stop observing Daylight Savings TIme "if a majority of other northeast states, also possibly including New York, also do so." After a 9-to-1 vote, the head of the commission reported their conclusion after months of study: "There's no good reason why we're changing these clocks twice a year"... According to local reports, "The commission studied the pros and cons of the move and found, for example, retailers liked the idea of more daylight late in the day for shoppers... They also said there would be less crime, fewer traffic accidents and we would actually save energy." A Maine state representative argues that it's actually harmful to observe Daylight Savings Time. "Some of those harms include an increased risk of stroke, more heart attacks, miscarriages for in vitro fertilization patients, among many other undesirable complications," reports Newsweek. Maine's legislature has already passed a bill approving an end to daylight savings time -- if Massachusetts and New Hampshire also end the practice, and if voters approve the change in a referendum. At least six states are considering changing the time zones, according to Newsweek, and when it comes to Daylight Savings Time, the Maine representative told a reporter she had just one question. "Why do we keep doing this to ourselves?"

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NXP Cortex-M7 chip gains uClinux BSP

LXer - Sat, 11/04/2017 - 23:56
Emcraft unveiled a uClinux BSP for NXP’s new i.MX RT1050 EVK and up to 600MHz i.MX RT chip, which NXP calls the fastest Cortex-M processor yet. With last week’s announcement of its “crossover” i.MX RT processor, NXP further blurred the boundaries between application processors, which can run high-end OSes like Linux, and MCUs, which usually can’t.

Top 5: Linux-based personal finance tools, a Piano-playing Go AI, and more

LXer - Sat, 11/04/2017 - 21:44
This week, we take a look at how the Go programming language is skyrocketing, using Go and Raspberry Pi to create music, and how your cat can be a model for open source community management.

Should Developers Do All Their Own QA?

Slashdot - Sat, 11/04/2017 - 21:42
An anonymous reader quotes IT News: Fashion retailer The Iconic is no longer running quality assurance as a separate function within its software development process, having shifted QA responsibilities directly onto developers... "We decided: we've got all these [developers] who are [coding] every day, and they're testing their own work -- we don't need a second layer of advice on it," head of development Oliver Brennan told the New Relic FutureStack conference in Sydney last week. "It just makes people lazy..." Such a move has the obvious potential to create problems should a developer drop the ball; to make sure the impact of any unforeseen issues is minimised for customers, The Iconic introduced feature toggles -- allowing developers to turn off troublesome functionality without having to deploy new code. Every new feature that goes into production must now sit behind one of these toggles, which dictates whether a user is served the new or old version of the feature in question. The error rates between the new and old versions are then monitored for any discrepancies... While Brennan is no fan of "people breaking things", he argues moving fast is more beneficial for customers. "If our site is down now, people will generally come back later," Brennan adds, and the company has now moved all of its QA workers into engineering roles.

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Newspaper Obtains James Damore's Complaint Against Google

Slashdot - Sat, 11/04/2017 - 19:38
A Silicon Valley newspaper brings this update on fired Google engineer James Damore: California law allows employers to fire workers for virtually any reason -- and the Constitutional protection of free speech doesn't apply to private company workplaces. Until now it was unclear how Damore might fight back against Google over his termination. Now, this news organization has obtained the U.S. National Labor Relations Board charge sheet that reveals the basis for Damore's battle. His argument hinges on the contents of his memo, which went far beyond discussing a possible biological reason for the gender gap. The document contained detailed criticism of Google's diversity initiatives and their effects on employees, and it said that the company's biases led to alienation among employees holding conservative views. His Labor Board charge rests on Section 8(a) subsection (1) of the National Labor Relations Act, which gives employees the right to engage in activities for the purpose of "mutual aid or protection." Google discriminated against Damore by firing him "in retaliation" for activities protected by law, and also possibly to discourage such activities within the company, the charge sheet said. It appears clear that the protected activities Damore refers to are his communications, in the memo, with co-workers, about issues in the workplace. Google was unavailable for comment, but the newspaper quoted an earlier statement from Google CEO Sundar Pichai that "An important part of our culture is lively debate. But like any workplace that doesn't mean that anything goes."

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Embedded Linux Conference Europe videos posted for free streaming

LXer - Sat, 11/04/2017 - 19:33
13 videos of Open Source Summit Europe keynotes and 57 videos of Embedded Linux Conference Europe sessions on YouTube. The combined Embedded Linux Conference Europe (ELCE) and Open Source Summit Europe event held Oct. 23-25 in Prague, is now available for all to see.

Fake WhatsApp App Downloaded 1 Million Times

Slashdot - Sat, 11/04/2017 - 17:34
An anonymous reader quotes Fortune: Reddit users yesterday spotted an extremely convincing spoofed copy of the popular WhatsApp messenger on Google Play. The fake was downloaded by more than 1 million users, who instead of a messaging tool wound up with a bundle of ads... The fake WhatsApp was nearly indistinguishable from the real thing thanks to an invisible space placed at the end of the developer's name. One of the security hounds discussing the case on Reddit pointed out that this was not an isolated incident, even for WhatsApp. A search for "WhatsApp" on Google Play currently shows no fewer than seven spoof apps using slight variations on the developer name "WhatsApp Inc.", including versions with extra spaces, asterisks, or commas. All of them have four-star review averages, presumably thanks to industrial-scale subversion of Play's review system.

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