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  1. Hi @koko666 I want to apply for an account with, thanks.
  2. THE IMPLEMENTATION of USB-C has been, not to put too fine a point on it, an unmitigated cock-up on a Windows 10 October Update scale. Designed to be a universal standard replacing everything from Apple's Lightning ports to HDMI, the system has been dogged by issues including a confusing specification that offers two different data transfer speeds, and non-compliant cables that overpower devices turning them into computerised calamari. But the USB-IF working group, which represents manufacturers of products that offer the standard, aren't giving up, with plans to create an "Authentication Program" to ensure that only reliable products can be used. It involves "cryptographic authentication" which is essentially a posh way of saying "digital rights management" - a phrase that will send shudders through the hearts of anyone who uses their computer for media. The idea here isn't to keep rich manufacturers in clover, but rather to protect end users from the onslaught of cheap (mostly Chinese) off-brand devices that fry your prize possession. The proposals feature 128-bit encryption triggered by connecting a device, and blocking it if an incorrect "handshake" is received. In addition, sysadmins will be able to add their own bespoke encryption to prevent unauthorised devices from getting near corporate assets. The USB-C Authentication Program is the second attempt to try and reign in the marshall law that has dogged the new standard. The Implementers Forum has already lent its name to a certification designed to prevent the distribution of dodgy connectors, but simply saying that your device is compliant has proved ineffective. After all - people lie. Instead, by adding encryption similar to that already used in HDMI cables, there's a chance of getting a stable door closed, even though the horse is halfway down the paddock. Now we just have to get our heads around the fact that the ‘standard' encompasses USB 3.0, USB 3.1, HDMI, DisplayLink and Thunderbolt for data and a bewildering array of options for how it supplies power. It's likely to be years before this gets properly sorted, but this is a start, as long as manufacturers don't use it as an excuse to jack up the price of authenticated products. Which they probably will. μ
  3. MojoKid writes: College students used to have to fend for themselves at the campus convenient store but soon may have the snacks coming to them courtesy of a new delivery service. The PepsiCo Hello Goodness Snackbot, an autonomous delivery robot, will now run snacks around select college campuses to satiate whatever case of the munchies it can. Students, staff, and faculty at the University of Pacific in Stockton, California can now order snacks between 9AM and 5PM through the Snackbot app, which is currently only available on iOS. The robot will deliver goods at 50 designated Snackbot areas across campuses. The delivery bot can go more than 20 miles on a single charge and includes a camera, headlights, and all-wheel drive to help it navigate through tough terrain if need be. The Snackbots are part of the company's goal of expanding the reach of their healthier product lines to 50,000 points of presence by the end of 2019.
  4. Researchers at the University of Maryland have managed to trick Google's reCaptcha system by using Google's own speech-to-text service. "[The researchers] claim that their CAPTCHA-fooling method, unCaptcha, can fool Google's reCaptcha, one of the most popular CAPTCHA systems currently used by hundreds of thousands of websites, with a 90 percent success rate," reports Motherboard. From the report: The researchers originally developed UnCaptcha in 2017, which uses Google's own free speech-to-text service to trick the system into thinking a robot is a human. It's an oroborus of bots: According to their paper, UnCaptcha downloads the audio captcha, segments the audio into individual digit audio clips, uploads the segments to multiple other speech-to-text services (including Google's), then converts these services' responses to digits. After a little homophone guesswork, it then decides which speech-to-text output is closest to accurate, and uploads the answer to the CAPTCHA field. This old method returned an 85% success rate. After the release of that version of unCaptcha, Google fixed some of the loopholes that made it work, including better browser automation detection and switching to spoken phrases, rather than digits. The researchers claim that their new method, updated in June, gets around these improvements and is even more accurate than before, at 90 percent. "We have been in contact with the ReCaptcha team for over six months and they are fully aware of this attack," the researchers write. "The team has allowed us to release the code, despite its current success."
  5. An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Daily Beast: Untold riches are promised on Mystery Brand, a website that sells prize-filled "mystery boxes." If you buy one of the digital boxes, some of which cost hundreds of dollars, you might only get a fidget spinner -- or you might get a luxury sports car. For just $100, users can win a box filled with rare Supreme streetwear. For only $12.99, they can win a Lamborghini, or even a $250 million mega-mansion billed as "the most expensive Los Angeles realty." Or at least that's what some top YouTubers have been telling their young fans about the gambling site -- with the video stars apparently seeing that as a gamble worth taking, especially after a dip in YouTube advertising rates. Over the past week, hugely popular YouTube stars like Jake Paul and Bryan "Ricegum" Le have encouraged their fans to spend money on Mystery Brand, a previously little-known site that appears to be based in Poland. In their videos, Paul and Le show themselves betting hundreds of dollars on the site for a chance to open a digital "box." At first, they win only low-value prizes like fidget spinners or Converse sneakers. By the end of the video, though, they have won thousands of dollars worth of tech and clothing, like rare pairs of sneakers or Apple AirPods. If they like the prize, the YouTube stars have it shipped to their house. The gambling site doesn't list the owner or location where it's based, although the site's terms of service say it's "subject to the laws and jurisdiction of Poland." To make matters worse, users of the site might not even receive the items they believed they have won. "During using the services of the website You may encounter circumstances in which Your won items will not be received," the terms of service reads. Also, while the ToS say that underage users are ineligible to receive prizes, many of the YouTubers promoting the site have audiences who are underage. "[Jake Paul], for example, has acknowledged that the bulk of his fanbase is between 8 and 15 years old," reports The Daily Beast.
  6. According to a new study published in the journal EClinicalMedicine, the link between social media use and depressive symptoms in 14-year-olds may be much stronger for girls than boys. CNN reports: Among teens who use social media the most -- more than five hours a day -- the study showed a 50% increase in depressive symptoms among girls versus 35% among boys, when their symptoms were compared with those who use social media for only one to three hours daily. Yet the study, conducted in the UK, showed only an association between social media use and symptoms of depression, which can include feelings of unhappiness, restlessness or loneliness. The findings cannot prove that frequent social media use caused depressive symptoms, or vice versa. The study also described other factors, such as lack of sleep and cyberbullying, that could help explain this association. For the study, researchers analyzed data on 10,904 14-year-olds who were born between 2000 and 2002 in the United Kingdom. The data, which came from the UK Millennium Cohort Study, included information from questionnaires on the teens' depressive symptoms and social media use. Depressive symptoms were recorded as scores, and the researchers looked at which teens had high or low scores. They found that on average, girls had higher depressive symptom scores compared with boys. The researchers also found that girls reported more social media use than boys; 43.1% of girls said they used social media for three or more hours per day, versus 21.9% of boys. The data showed that for teens using social media for three to five hours, 26% of girls and 21% of boys had depressive symptom scores higher than those who used social media for only about one to three hours a day. As for the gender gap, Yvonne Kelly, first author of the study and professor of epidemiology and public health, believes it has to do with "the types of things that girls and boys do online." "In the UK, girls tend to more likely use things like Snapchat or Instagram, which is more based around physical appearance, taking photographs and commenting on those photographs," she said. "I think it has to do with the nature of use."
  7. More than 100 million devices with Alexa on board have been sold. From a report: That's the all-too-rare actual number that Amazon's SVP of devices and services, Dave Limp, revealed to me earlier this week. That's not to say Amazon has finally decided to be completely transparent about device sales, however. While the company claims it outstripped its most optimistic expectations for the Echo Dot during the holiday season, Limp wouldn't give a number for that. Instead, Limp says, Amazon is sold out of Dots through January, despite "pushing pallets of Echo Dots onto 747s and getting them from Hong Kong to here as quickly as we possibly could."
  8. Early last year, Netflix allowed some iOS users in more than two dozen markets to bypass the iTunes payment method as part of an experiment. The streaming company is now incorporating the change globally, curbing a $256 million revenue stream for Apple. "According to new data compiled by Sensor Tower, Netflix grossed $853 million in 2018 on the iOS App Store," reports TechCrunch. "Based on that figure, Apple's take would have been around $256 million, the firm said." The new policy change allows Netflix to avoid paying the 15% levy that Apple charges on in-app subscriptions. From a report: "We no longer support iTunes as a method of payment for new members," a Netflix spokesperson told VentureBeat. Existing members, however, can continue to use iTunes as a method of payment, the spokesperson added. The company did not share exactly when it rolled out the change globally, but a support representative VentureBeat spoke with pegged the timeframe as late last month. Additionally, the support rep added that customers who are rejoining Netflix using an iOS device, after having canceled payment for at least one month, also won't be able to use iTunes billing. The move, which will allow Netflix to keep all proceeds from its new paying iPhone and iPad customers, underscores the tension between developers and the marquee distributors of mobile apps -- Apple and Google.
  9. An anonymous reader quotes a report from IEEE Spectrum: Ethereum mining consumes a quarter to half of what Bitcoin mining does, but that still means that for most of 2018 it was using roughly as much electricity as Iceland. Indeed, the typical Ethereum transaction gobbles more power than an average U.S. household uses in a day. "That's just a huge waste of resources, even if you don't believe that pollution and carbon dioxide are an issue. There are real consumers -- real people -- whose need for electricity is being displaced by this stuff," says Vitalik Buterin, the 24-year-old Russian-Canadian computer scientist who invented Ethereum when he was just 18. Buterin plans to finally start undoing his brainchild's energy waste in 2019. This year Buterin, the Ethereum Foundation he cofounded, and the broader open-source movement advancing the cryptocurrency all plan to field-test a long-promised overhaul of Ethereum's code. If these developers are right, by the end of 2019 Ethereum's new code could complete transactions using just 1 percent of the energy consumed today.
  10. The Los Angeles City Attorney's office issued a cloudy forecast with the possibility of civil penalties for the popular Weather Channel app on Friday, claiming it repeatedly violated the privacy of consumers. From a report: In a civil lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, city prosecutors allege that The Weather Channel app led users to believe that it would use location data to provide them with "personalized local weather data, alerts and forecasts" but instead transmitted that data to third parties. The 15-page suit seeks to stop TWC Product and Technology LLC, a subsidiary of IBM, from using consumers' information and seeks civil penalties up to $2,500 for each violation by the company. Prosecutors allege that the firm profited from that data for purposes entirely unrelated to weather or the app. Further reading: The Register; Your Apps Know Where You Were Last Night, and They're Not Keeping It Secret, and Several Popular Apps Share Data With Facebook Without User Consent.
  11. An anonymous reader shares a report: The chairman of Barrick Gold Corp made a bold prediction in late 2017: With the help of artificial intelligence and other digital tools, the world's largest gold miner would become a technology company that just happened to be in mining. A year later, Barrick has parted ways with its chief innovation officer, chief digital officer and many of the team tasked with making this transformation a reality, according to people familiar with the matter. The revolution in machine learning, as predicted by Barrick Chairman John Thornton and other mining executives, has yet to come. Miners have said digital technologies like artificial intelligence, or AI, will revolutionize one of the world's oldest industries in the same way it has changed other businesses, from retail to hailing a cab. Some experts say the promise of AI in mining has been overhyped and progress has been slow. Companies, including Barrick and giants such as Rio Tinto and BHP Group, are running some AI-led projects. But implementation at some companies has hit cultural hurdles. Executives haven't always engaged, projects have taken longer than expected and companies have turned to other ways to modernize operations.
  12. Fred Imbert, writing for CNBC: Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, said Friday that Apple's technology may have been stolen by the Chinese. "I don't want to surmise too much here, but Apple technology may have been picked off by China and now China is becoming very competitive with Apple. You've got to have rule of law," Kudlow said in an interview with Bloomberg. "There are some indications from China that they're looking at that, but we don't know that yet. There's no enforcement; there's nothing concrete." Kudlow's comments came shortly after China's Commerce Ministry said Chinese and U.S. officials will meet next week to discuss trade. Both countries have been engaged in a trade spat for months that has sent ripples through global markets. John Gruber at DaringFireball comments: I think what he's saying here is that the Chinese stole Apple technology, copied it, and are now flooding the Chinese market with phones based on that stolen tech. I'm 99.8 percent certain that hasn't happened -- if there were Chinese phones built with stolen Apple technology we'd know it because we'd see it.
  13. New report from Midia Research firm looks at music fans' behavior in the third quarter of 2018. From the report: YouTube is the dominant music streaming platform, with 55% of consumers regularly watching music videos on YouTube, compared to a combined 37% for all free audio streaming services. YouTube usage skews young, peaking at nearly three quarters of consumers under 25. Although YouTube leads audio streaming in all markets -- even Spotify's native Sweden -- there are some strong regional variations. For example, emerging streaming markets Brazil and Mexico see much higher YouTube penetration, peaking at close to double the level of even traditional music radio in Mexico. Indeed, radio is feeling the YouTube pinch as much as audio streaming. 68% of those under 45 watch YouTube music videos compared to 41% that listen to music radio. The difference increases with younger audiences and the more emerging the market. For example, in Mexico YouTube music penetration is 84% for 20-24 year olds, compared to 37% for music radio. Streaming may be the future of radio, but right now that streaming future is YouTube.
  14. Some Amazon stores have no cashiers, and Waymo is testing self-driving taxis. Are robots taking our jobs? It depends on what you do and where you do it, according to a new report by the World Bank released this week. From a report: "Advanced economies have shed industrial jobs, but the rise of the industrial sector in East Asia has more than compensated for this loss," said the report, titled "The Changing Nature of Work." That may seem like good news in a broad sense, but not to the people whose jobs are disappearing. Technological advances and automation are making the rich richer and the poor poorer. "Workers in some sectors benefit handsomely from technological progress, whereas those in others are displaced and have to retool to survive," the report said. "Platform technologies create huge wealth but place it in the hands of only a few people." The World Bank recommends a new social contract that includes investment in education and retraining. Would that help American workers? "Policy-makers in Washington may have talked about the need to better prepare lower-skilled workers for the future transition, but little has been done," Robert Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a Washington-based think tank, said Thursday.
  15. Kenya runs on mobile phones. And yet, outside of major cities like Nairobi, the infrastructure for mobile telephony is lacking. That's why, in 2019, telecommunications provider Telkom Kenya will begin turning to high-altitude balloons built by the Alphabet subsidiary Loon to provide mobile phone service. From a report: "High-altitude balloons are actually a very reasonable way to approach this problem," says Sal Candido, Loon's head of engineering. "They're high, they cover a lot of ground, and there are no obstacles." It's simple "but for one thing," Candido adds -- each balloon needs to stay in place in the stratosphere, providing coverage for one area for hundreds of days before being replaced. Candido has been with Loon for five years, long before the effort -- then known as Project Loon -- graduated from X, the Alphabet research and development subsidiary, in July 2018. Candido initially worked on developing the balloons' navigation system, one of the key components needed to address the "one thing" keeping the idea from really lifting off. The challenge of how to navigate the balloons properly has changed drastically during Candido's time at Loon, because over the years the understanding of how Loon would operate has changed drastically as well. [...] As Loon launched more balloons for its test flights -- the company has now logged over 30 million kilometers -- the engineering team realized that they could control where the balloons would travel. "Sometimes the most obvious answer comes to you much later on," Candido says. "Why don't the balloons just not leave the coverage area?" It turns out that this is possible, at least in most places, for reasonable durations.