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Project Alias Hacks Amazon Echo and Google Home To Protect Your Privacy

SlashDot - 57 min 8 sec ago
fahrbot-bot writes: The gadget, called Alias, is an always-listening speaker, designed to fit on top of an Amazon Echo or Google Home, where it looks like a mass of melted candle wax. It's composed of a 3D-printed top layer, a mic array, a Raspberry Pi, and two speakers. It only connects to the internet during the initial setup process. Alias stays "off the grid" while you're using it, preventing your conversations from leaving the device. When the Alias hears its own (customizable) wake word, it'll stop broadcasting white noise and wake up Alexa or Google Assistant so you can use them as normal.

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US Now Says All Online Gambling Illegal, Not Just Sports Bets

SlashDot - 1 hour 37 min ago
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: The U.S. Justice Department's decision that all internet gambling is illegal will cast a pall on the industry as businesses and state lotteries evaluate the implications of the change and the government's plans to enforce it. The U.S. now says federal law bars all internet gambling, reversing its position from 2011 that only sports betting is prohibited under a law passed 50 years earlier. Although the federal law specifically prohibits transmission of wagers and related information across state lines, the Justice Department's new interpretation will impact all online gambling because as a practical matter it's difficult to guarantee that no payments are routed through other states, said Aaron Swerdlow, an attorney with Glaser Weil Fink Howard Avchen & Shapiro LLP in Los Angeles. The reversal was prompted by the department's criminal division, which prosecutes illegal gambling. The opinion issued about seven years ago that the 1961 Wire Act only banned sports gambling was a misinterpretation of the statute, according to a 23-page opinion by the department's Office of Legal Counsel dated Nov. 2 and made public Monday. The new reading of the law probably will be tested in the courts as judges may entertain challenges to the government's view of the law's scope, the Justice Department said. It may also affect states that began selling lottery tickets online after the 2011 opinion, as well as casinos that offer online gambling. In contrast, the Supreme Court last May "cleared the way [...] for states to legalize sports betting, striking down a 1992 federal law that had prohibited most states from authorizing sports betting."

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Firefox 69 Will Disable Adobe Flash Plugin by Default

SlashDot - 2 hours 16 min ago
Mozilla will take the next major step in disabling support for the Adobe Flash plugin later this year when it releases Firefox 69. From a report: Firefox 69 will be Mozilla's third last step to completely dropping support for the historically buggy plugin, which will reach end of life on December 31, 2020. Flash is the last remaining NPAPI plugin that Firefox supports. Mozilla flagged the change, spotted by Ghacks, in a new bug report that notes "we'll disable Flash by default in Nightly 69 and let that roll out". Firefox 69 stable will be released in early September, according to Mozilla's release calendar.

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Apple Replaced 11 Million iPhone Batteries in Its $29 Program

SlashDot - 2 hours 56 min ago
Apple's $29 battery replacement program may have seriously dinged sales of its 2018 iPhone models. From a report: The company replaced 11 million iPhone batteries under the program, John Gruber of tech-focused blog DaringFireball reported Monday, citing Apple CEO Tim Cook at an all-hands meeting. Typically, the company replaces 1 million to 2 million batteries each year, DaringFireball noted. Cook cited the program's negative impact on Apple's revenue in a Jan. 2 sales warning to investors but didn't offer specific numbers.

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CERN's New Collider Design Is Four Times Larger Than the LHC

SlashDot - 3 hours 36 min ago
If built, the Future Circular Collider will be 10 times more powerful than the Large Hadron Collider, and could discover new types of particles. From a report: The 2012 discovery of the Higgs boson particle at CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is widely considered to be one of the most important scientific breakthroughs in history. It validated a half-century of research about the basic building blocks of matter, and remains the crowning achievement of modern particle physics. Now, CERN wants to follow up on the LHC's smashing success with a super-sized structure called the Future Circular Collider (FCC). This next-generation particle accelerator would boast 10 times the observational power of the LHC and would stretch across 100 kilometers (62 miles), encircling the Swiss city of Geneva and much of the surrounding area. CERN published its first conceptual design report for the FCC on Tuesday. The four-volume roadmap was developed over five years by 1,300 contributors based at 150 universities, according to a statement.

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Microsoft is Preparing For Foldable Windows Devices, Report Says

SlashDot - 4 hours 16 min ago
Microsoft is working on adapting Windows to work on foldable devices, The Verge reported Tuesday, citing sources familiar with the matter. The report further added that the company is making foldable devices and dual-screen hardware a big investment area for both Windows and Surface. From the report: This investment includes adapting Windows itself and its many built-in apps to work across foldable displays and devices with dual screens. While Microsoft has been experimenting with its own hardware with dual-screens, codenamed Andromeda, the company has also been working with Intel and other OEMs to be ready for the next few years of experimentation. PC makers famously developed a range of 2-in-1 devices for Windows 8 more than five years ago, and we're expecting to see a similar effort for dual-screen and foldable devices for Windows in the coming years. Most of this work is related to Microsoft's Composable Shell (C-Shell) and Windows Core OS, a more modular version of the existing Windows Shell that powers many parts of Windows 10 today.

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Ajit Pai Gives Carriers Free Pass on Privacy Violations During FCC Shutdown

SlashDot - 4 hours 56 min ago
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai refused to brief a Congressional committee Monday about mobile carriers' ability to share their subscribers' location data with third parties. From a report: House Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.) asked Pai for an "emergency briefing" to explain why the FCC "has yet to end wireless carriers' unauthorized disclosure of consumers' real-time location data," and for an update on "what actions the FCC has taken to address this issue to date." Pai's FCC could take action, despite the 2017 repeal of the commission's broadband privacy rules. Phone carriers are legally required to protect "Customer Proprietary Network Information [CPNI]," and the FCC's definition of CPNI includes location data. [...] Pai did not agree with Pallone, it turns out. "Today, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai refused to brief Energy and Commerce Committee staff on the real-time tracking of cell phone location[s]," Pallone said in a statement yesterday. "In a phone conversation today, his staff asserted that these egregious actions are not a threat to the safety of human life or property that the FCC will address during the Trump shutdown."

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Only Nuclear Energy Can Save the Planet

SlashDot - 5 hours 36 min ago
Joshua S. Goldstein, a professor emeritus of international relations at American University, and Staffan A. Qvist, an energy engineer and consultant, writing for The Wall Street Journal: Climate scientists tell us that the world must drastically cut its fossil fuel use in the next 30 years to stave off a potentially catastrophic tipping point for the planet. Confronting this challenge is a moral issue, but it's also a math problem -- and a big part of the solution has to be nuclear power. Today, more than 80% of the world's energy comes from fossil fuels, which are used to generate electricity, to heat buildings and to power car and airplane engines. Worse for the planet, the consumption of fossil fuels is growing quickly as poorer countries climb out of poverty and increase their energy use. Improving energy efficiency can reduce some of the burden, but it's not nearly enough to offset growing demand. Any serious effort to decarbonize the world economy will require, then, a great deal more clean energy, on the order of 100 trillion kilowatt-hours per year, by our calculations -- roughly equivalent to today's entire annual fossil-fuel usage. A key variable is speed. To reach the target within three decades, the world would have to add about 3.3 trillion more kilowatt-hours of clean energy every year. Solar and wind power alone can't scale up fast enough to generate the vast amounts of electricity that will be needed by midcentury, especially as we convert car engines and the like from fossil fuels to carbon-free energy sources. Even Germany's concerted recent effort to add renewables -- the most ambitious national effort so far -- was nowhere near fast enough. A global increase in renewables at a rate matching Germany's peak success would add about 0.7 trillion kilowatt-hours of clean electricity every year. That's just over a fifth of the necessary 3.3 trillion annual target.

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WordPress To Show Warnings on Servers Running Outdated PHP Versions

SlashDot - 6 hours 15 min ago
The WordPress open-source content management system (CMS) will show warnings in its backend admin panel if the site runs on top of an outdated PHP version. From a report: The current plan is to have the warnings appear for sites using a PHP version prior to the 5.6.x branch (5.6 or lower). The warnings will contain a link to a WordPress support page with information on how site owners can update their server's underlying PHP version. In instances where site owners are running their WordPress portals on top of tightly-controlled web hosting environments, the web host has the option to change this link with a custom URL pointing at its own support site. [...] Around 66.7 percent of all Internet sites run an unsupported PHP version, according to W3Techs. Almost a quarter of all internet sites run on top of a WordPress CMS.

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