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Uber Crosses 5 Billion Rides

Slashdot - Thu, 06/29/2017 - 22:01
An anonymous reader shares a report: The ride-hailing company just reached a big milestone: 5 billion Uber rides around the world. With Uber's endless bad headlines, and Lyft gaining real momentum in the war against Uber, it's easy to forget how much else Uber has going on. Lyft is only competing with Uber in the U.S.; billions of Uber's trips have taken place outside America. Uber officially reached 5 billion rides with 156 simultaneous trips at exactly 7:29:06 a.m. GMT on May 20. The company announced the news on Thursday.

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Tumblr's Unclear Future Shows That There's No Money in Internet Culture

Slashdot - Thu, 06/29/2017 - 21:40
Earlier this month as Verizon completed its acquisition, a number of Tumblr employees, as well as those at other Verizon-owned properties, like the Huffington Post, were laid off. This comes at an interesting time for Tumblr, which is increasingly struggling to find a business model. From an article on NYMag: The future of Tumblr is still an open question. The site is enormously popular among the coveted youth crowd -- that's partly why then-CEO Marissa Mayer paid $1 billion for the property in 2013 -- but despite a user base near the size of Instagram's, Tumblr never quite figured out how to make money at the level Facebook has led managers and shareholders to expect. For a long time, its founder and CEO David Karp was publicly against the idea of inserting ads into users' timelines. (Other experiments in monetization, like premium options, never caught on: It's tough to generate revenue when your most active user base is too young to have a steady income.) Even once the timeline became open to advertising, it was tough to find clients willing to brave the sometimes-porny waters of the Tumblr Dashboard. Since it joined Yahoo, the site has started displaying low-quality "chum"-style ads in between user posts on the Dashboard. Looked at from a bottom-line perspective, Tumblr is an also-ran like its parent company -- a once-hot start-up that has eased into tech-industry irrelevance. [...] It is rare, but not at all unprecedented, for a site to reach Tumblr's size, prominence, and level of influence and still be unable to build a sustainable business. Twitter steers a huge portion of online culture, and has become an essential water cooler and newswire for journalists, tech workers, and otaku Nazis, but still has trouble turning a profit.

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Twitter Detects Riots Faster Than Police, Study Says

Slashdot - Thu, 06/29/2017 - 21:00
A new study by Cardiff University has determined that Twitter can be used to identify dangerous situations up to an hour faster than police reports. From a report: Researchers at Cardiff analyzed 1.6 million tweets relevant to the 2011 London riots. In the town of Enfield, police received reports of disorder an hour and 23 minutes after computer systems could have picked up the same information from Twitter, according to the study. "In this research, we show that online social media are becoming the go-to place to report observations of everyday occurrences -- including social disorder and terrestrial criminal activity," said co-author of the study Pete Burnap.

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The Biggest Windows 10 Shop? Microsoft Partner Accenture

Slashdot - Thu, 06/29/2017 - 20:20
Mary Zo Foley, reporting for ZDNet: Microsoft partner Accenture, a global consulting company, is on track to become "the largest consumer of Windows 10," say the two companies. By 2018, Accenture will have migrated all of its 400,000 employees to Windows 10 in a move that will have taken two years. (Accenture has 400,000 employees?! Microsoft has about 114,000.) Currently, Accenture has migrated somewhere between 250,000 and close to 300,000 users to Windows 10, according to information shared on June 28. In a video accompanying the latest statistics on the Microsoft Windows blog site, it appears that Accenture also currently has 450,000 Office 365 mailboxes, 16,000 SharePoint sites and 99,500 smartphones and tablets enrolled in mobile-device management (which I take to be Microsoft's Enterprise Mobility + Security suite products).

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Windows 10 Will Soon Protect Files and Folders From Ransomware

Slashdot - Thu, 06/29/2017 - 19:40
Microsoft is making some interesting security-related changes to Windows 10 with the next Fall Creators Update, expected to debut in September. From a report: Windows 10 testers can now access a preview of the changes that include a new controlled folder access feature. It's designed to only allow specific apps to access and read / write to a folder. If enabled, the default list prevents apps from accessing the desktop, pictures, movies, and documents folders. "Controlled folder access monitors the changes that apps make to files in certain protected folders," explains Dona Sarkar, head of Microsoft's Windows Insiders program. "If an app attempts to make a change to these files, and the app is blacklisted by the feature, you'll get a notification about the attempt."

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US Senators Seek Military Ban on Kaspersky Lab Products Amid FBI Probe

Slashdot - Thu, 06/29/2017 - 19:00
An anonymous reader shares a report: U.S. senators sought on Wednesday to ban Moscow-based cyber security firm Kaspersky Lab's products from use by the military because of fears the company is vulnerable to "Russian government influence," a day after the FBI interviewed several of its U.S. employees as part of a probe into its operations. Federal Bureau of Investigation agents visited the homes of Kaspersky employees late on Tuesday in multiple U.S. cities, although no search warrants were served, according to two sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the FBI probe. Kaspersky Lab confirmed in a statement on Wednesday that FBI agents have had "brief interactions" with some of its U.S. employees, discussions that the company described as "due diligence" chats. The interviews were followed on Wednesday by the release of a defense spending policy bill passed by the Senate Armed Services Committee, which would prohibit the U.S. Defense Department from using Kaspersky software platforms because the company "might be vulnerable to Russian government influence," according to a summary of the legislation.

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Mozilla Employee Denied Entry To the United States

Slashdot - Thu, 06/29/2017 - 18:20
Reader Artem Tashkinov writes: Daniel Stenberg, an employee at Mozilla and the author of the command-line tool curl, was not allowed to board his flight to the meeting from Sweden—despite the fact that he'd previously obtained a visa waiver allowing him to travel to the US. Stenberg was unable to check in for his flight, and was notified at the airport ticket counter that his entry to the US had been denied. Although Mozilla doesn't believe that the incident is related to Trump's travel ban, the incident stirred fears among international tech workers, who fear they'll miss out on work and research opportunities if they're not allowed to travel to the US. The situation even caught the eye of Microsoft's chief legal officer Brad Smith, who tweeted at Stenberg to offer legal assistance.

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Let's Encrypt Hits New Milestone: Over 100,000,000 Certificates Issued

Slashdot - Thu, 06/29/2017 - 17:40
Josh Aas, the executive director of Internet Security Research Group (ISRG) writing for Let's Encrypt: Let's Encrypt, a free, automated, and open certificate authority has reached a milestone: we've now issued more than 100,000,000 certificates. This number reflects at least a few things: First, it illustrates the strong demand for our services. We'd like to thank all of the sysadmins, web developers, and everyone else managing servers for prioritizing protecting your visitors with HTTPS. Second, it illustrates our ability to scale. I'm incredibly proud of the work our engineering teams have done to make this volume of issuance possible. I'm also very grateful to our operational partners, including IdenTrust, Akamai, and Sumo Logic. Third, it illustrates the power of automated certificate management. If getting and managing certificates from Let's Encrypt always required manual steps there is simply no way we'd be able to serve as many sites as we do. The total number of certificates we've issued is an interesting number, but it doesn't reflect much about tangible progress towards our primary goal: a 100% HTTPS Web.

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Hacks Raise Fear Over NSA's Hold on Cyberweapons

Slashdot - Thu, 06/29/2017 - 16:50
Nicole Perlroth, and David Sanger, writing for The New York Times: Twice in the past month, National Security Agency cyberweapons stolen from its arsenal have been turned against two very different partners of the United States -- Britain and Ukraine. The N.S.A. has kept quiet, not acknowledging its role in developing the weapons (alternative source). White House officials have deflected many questions, and responded to others by arguing that the focus should be on the attackers themselves, not the manufacturer of their weapons. But the silence is wearing thin for victims of the assaults, as a series of escalating attacks using N.S.A. cyberweapons have hit hospitals, a nuclear site and American businesses. Now there is growing concern that United States intelligence agencies have rushed to create digital weapons that they cannot keep safe from adversaries or disable once they fall into the wrong hands. On Wednesday, the calls for the agency to address its role in the latest attacks grew louder, as victims and technology companies cried foul. Representative Ted Lieu, a California Democrat and a former Air Force officer who serves on the House Judiciary and Foreign Affairs Committees, urged the N.S.A. to help stop the attacks and to stop hoarding knowledge of the computer vulnerabilities upon which these weapons rely.

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The iPhone Turns 10

Slashdot - Thu, 06/29/2017 - 16:00
"Every once in awhile a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything," said co-founder and former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, as he kickstarted the iPhone keynote. Ten years ago, thousands of people around the world listened to him in a mock turtleneck talk about a phone. They liked it so much that they decided to wait outside Apple stores for hours on end to buy one. Little did anyone know the phone -- called the iPhone -- would go on to revolutionize, in the truest sense of the word, the smartphone industry as we know it. From an Economist article: No product in recent history has changed people's lives more. Without the iPhone, ride-hailing, photo-sharing, instant messaging and other essentials of modern life would be less widespread. Shorn of cumulative sales of 1.2bn devices and revenues of $1trn, Apple would not hold the crown of the world's largest listed company. Thousands of software developers would be poorer, too: the apps they have written for the smartphone make them more than $20bn annually. Here's how some journalists saw the original iPhone. David Pogue, writing for the New York Times: But even in version 1.0, the iPhone is still the most sophisticated, outlook-changing piece of electronics to come along in years. It does so many things so well, and so pleasurably, that you tend to forgive its foibles. Walt Mossberg, writing for the Wall Street Journal: Expectations for the iPhone have been so high that it can't possibly meet them all. It isn't for the average person who just wants a cheap, small phone for calling and texting. But, despite its network limitations, the iPhone is a whole new experience and a pleasure to use. John Gruber's first impressions of the iPhone: The iPhone is 95 percent amazing, 5 percent maddening. I'm just blown away by how nice it is -- very thoughtful UI design and outstanding engineering. It is very fun. Jason Snell, writing for Macworld: To put it more simply: The iPhone is the real deal. It's a product that has already changed the way people look at the devices they carry in their pockets and purses. After only a few days with mine, the prospect of carrying a cellphone with me wherever I go no longer fills me with begrudging acceptance, but actual excitement. Recode has some charts that show how the iPhone has grown over the years. Here's the primer: 1. The iPhone put the internet in everyone's pocket. 2. The iPhone transformed photography from a hobby to a part of everyday life. 3. The iPhone App Store changed the way software was created and distributed. 4. iPhone apps changed everything, even how people work. 5. The iPhone made Apple the world's most valuable company. Apple commentator Horace Dediu writing for Asymco: The iPhone is the best selling product ever, making Apple perhaps the best business ever. Because of the iPhone, Apple has managed to survive to a relatively old age. Not only did it build a device base well over 1 billion it engendered loyalty and satisfaction described only by superlatives. To summarize I can offer two numbers: 1. 1,162,796,000 iPhones sold (to end of March 2017). 2. $742,912,000,000 in revenues. $1 trillion will be reached in less than 18 months. In closing, security researcher Mikko Hypponen tweeted, "iPhone is 10 years old today. After 10 years, not a single serious malware case. It's not just luck; we need to congratulate Apple on this."

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