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  • Microsoft Is Laying Off 1,850 to Streamline Its Smartphone Business
    Microsoft is making more changes to its smartphone business. The company, which sold its feature phone business last week, on Wednesday announced that it is scaling back hardware -- laying off 1,850 staff and take a charge of $950 million including $200 million in severance payments in a memo to all employees. The company insists that "great new devices" are in the works. From Myerson's memo: Last week we announced the sale of our feature phone business. Today I want to share that we are taking the additional step of streamlining our smartphone hardware business, and we anticipate this will impact up to 1,850 jobs worldwide, up to 1,350 of which are in Finland. These changes are incredibly difficult because of the impact on good people who have contributed greatly to Microsoft. Speaking on behalf of Satya and the entire Senior Leadership Team, we are committed to help each individual impacted with our support, resources, and respect. For context, Windows 10 recently crossed 300 million monthly active devices, our Surface and Xbox customer satisfaction is at record levels, and HoloLens enthusiasts are developing incredible new experiences. Yet our phone success has been limited to companies valuing our commitment to security, manageability, and Continuum, and with consumers who value the same. Thus, we need to be more focused in our phone hardware efforts.

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  • Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Fitbit For 'Highly Inaccurate' Heart Rate Trackers
    An anonymous reader quotes a report from NBC News: A class action lawsuit against Fitbit may have grown teeth following the release of a new study that claims the company's popular heart rate trackers are "highly inaccurate." Researchers at the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona tested the heart rates of 43 healthy adults with Fitbit's PurePulse heart rate monitors, using the company's Surge watches and Charge HR bands on each wrist. Subjects were then hooked up to a BioHarness device that produced an electrocardiogram (ECG), to record the heart's rhythm against the data being produced by Fitbit's devices. Comparative results from rest and exercise -- including jump rope, treadmills, outdoor jogging and stair climbing -- showed that the Fitbit devices miscalculated heart rates by up to 20 beats per minute on average during more intensive workouts. The study was commissioned by the Lieff Cabraser, the law firm behind the class action suit that is taking aim at three Fitbit models that use the PurePulse heart monitor, including the Fitbit Blaze, Fitbit Charge HR and Fitbit Surge. "What the plaintiffs' attorneys call a 'study' is biased, baseless, and nothing more than an attempt to extract a payout from Fitbit. It lacks scientific rigor and is the product of flawed methodology," Fitbit said in a statement posted by Gizmodo.

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  • Billionaire Technologist Accuses NASA Asteroid Mission of Bad Statistics
    Taco Cowboy quotes a report from Science Magazine: Nathan Myhrvold, ex-CTO of Microsoft, is accusing NASA of providing bad statistics on asteroid size. Mr. Myhrvold alleged that scientists using a prominent NASA space telescope have made fundamental mistakes in their assessment of the size of more than 157,000 asteroids they have observed. In a paper posted to the arXiv.org e-print repository on 22 May, Myhrvold takes aim at the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), a space telescope launched in 2009, and a follow-on mission, NEOWISE, which together are responsible for the discovery of more asteroids than any other observatory. Yet Myhrvold says that the WISE and NEOWISE teams' papers are riddled with statistical missteps. "None of their results can be replicated," he tells ScienceInsider. "I found one irregularity after another" Myhrvold says the NASA teams have made mistakes, such as ignoring the margin of error introduced when extrapolating from a small sample size to an entire population. They also neglected to include Kirchhoff's law of thermal radiation in their thermal models of the asteroids. Based on his own models, Myhrvold says that errors in the asteroid diameters based on WISE data should be 30%. In some cases, the size errors rise to as large as 300%. "Asteroids are more variable than we thought they were," he says. He has submitted the paper to the journal Icarus for review. However, the WISE and NEOWISE teams are standing by their results, and say that Myhrvold's criticism should be dismissed. "For every mistake I found in his paper, if I got a bounty, I would be rich," says Ned Wright, the principal investigator for WISE at the University of California, Los Angeles. Wright says that WISE's data match very well with two other infrared telescopes, AKARI and IRAS. To find out how accurately those infrared data determine the size of an asteroid, scientists have to calibrate them with radar observations, other observations made when asteroids pass in front of distant stars, and observations made by spacecraft up close. When they do that, Wright says, WISE's size errors end up at roughly 15%. Wright says his team doesn't have Myhrvold's computer codes, "so we don't know why he's screwing up." But Wright archly noted that Myhrvold once worked at Microsoft, so "is responsible in part for a lot of bad software."

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  • HPE To Spin Out Its Huge Services Business, Merge It With CSC
    itwbennett writes from a report via CIO: Hewlett-Packard Enterprise announced Tuesday that it will spin off its enterprise services business and merge it with IT services company Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC) to create a company with $26 billion in annual revenue. The services business "accounts for roughly 100,000 employees, or two-thirds of the Silicon Valley giant's workforce," according to the Wall Street Journal. In a statement, HPE CEO Meg Whitman said customers would benefit from a "stronger, more versatile services business, better able to innovate and adapt to an ever-changing technology landscape." Layoffs were not a topic of discussion in Tuesday's announcement, but HPE did say last year they would cut 33,000 jobs by 2018, in addition to the 55,000 job cuts it had already announced. The company also split into two last year, betting that the smaller parts will be nimbler and more able to reverse four years of declining sales.

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  • TSA Replaces Security Chief As Tension Grows At Airports
    HughPickens.com writes: Ron Nixon reports at the NYT that facing a backlash over long security lines and management problems, TSA administrator Peter V. Neffenger has shaken up his leadership team, replacing the agency's top security official Kelly Hoggan (Warning: source may be paywalled) and adding a new group of administrators at Chicago O'Hare International Airport. Beginning late that year, Hoggan received $90,000 in bonuses over a 13-month period, even though a leaked report from the Department of Homeland Security showed that auditors were able to get fake weapons and explosives past security screeners 95 percent of the time in 70 covert tests. Hoggan's bonus was paid out in $10,000 increments, an arrangement that members of Congress have said was intended to disguise the payments. During a hearing of the House Oversight Committee two weeks ago, lawmakers grilled Mr. Neffenger about the bonus, which was issued before he joined the agency in July. Last week and over the weekend, hundreds of passengers, including 450 on American Airlines alone, missed flights because of waits of two or three hours in security lines, according to local news reports. Many of the passengers had to spend the night in the terminal sleeping on cots. The TSA has sent 58 additional security officers and four more bomb-sniffing dog teams to O'Hare. Several current and former TSA employees said the moves to replace Hoggan and add the new officials in Chicago, where passengers have endured hours long waits at security checkpoints, were insufficient. "The timing of this decision is too late to make a real difference for the summer," says Andrew Rhoades, an assistant federal security director at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport who testified his supervisor accused him of "going native" after attending a meeting at a local mosque and that TSA's alleged practice of "directed reassignments," or unwanted job transfers were intended to punish employees who speak their minds. "Neffenger is only doing this because the media and Congress are making him look bad."

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  • Toyota Forms 'Strategic Partnership' With Uber
    An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Toyota and Uber are forming a "strategic partnership" which will include an investment by the Japanese automaker in the San Francisco-based ride-sharing company. Under the agreement, Uber drivers can lease their vehicles from Toyota and cover their payments through earnings generated as Uber drivers. Toyota says it will invest an undisclosed sum in Uber, which is already the most valuable technology startup in the world. A partnership between Toyota and Uber could help the ride-sharing company solve a lingering question surrounding its self-driving ambitions, namely where its going to get a fleet of cars to equip with its autonomous technology. Toyota, which is the world's largest car manufacturer, is taking self-driving technology very seriously. It recently established the Toyota Research Institute to develop AI technologies in two main areas: autonomous cars and robot helpers for around the home. Last month, Google, Ford, Volvo, Lyft and Uber joined a coalition to help spur the development of self-driving cars, ultimately to make them arrive to the market faster. Meanwhile, Apple made an investment in Uber's Chinese rival Didi.

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  • Apple To Open Up Siri To Developers, Release An Amazon Echo Competitor
    An anonymous reader quotes a report from BGR: According to a new report from The Information, Apple is finally ready to let Siri grow up. Specifically, the publication relays that Apple will finally offer official Siri APIs to developers, thus paving the way for third-party integrations, the kind that Amazon Echo users can't seem to get enough of. Things like ordering an Uber or pizza are currently impossible, because Siri is locked down by Apple. What's more, Apple is also reportedly working on a standalone device meant to compete with the Amazon Echo and Google's recently unveiled Google Home. If that's true, it's huge news -- Apple has been lacking any kind of smart home hub until now, but a Siri-powered device would be a serious play to get Apple into our homes. Google is the latest tech giant to announce a virtual home assistant. It unveiled Google Home, a small round gadget with microphones and speakers that listen and respond to your questions and commands.

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  • E Ink Creates Full-Color Electronic Paper Display
    SkinnyGuy writes: The reflective display company finally figured out how to make those ultra tiny balls produce 32,000 colors in one super-low-powered display. It's a breakthrough for E Ink, display advertising and, maybe someday, e-readers and digital photo frames. The new prototype display, which can be manufactured in an array of sizes, features a 20-inch, 2500 x 1600 resolution and is equally as power-efficient as the monochromatic display. E Ink Holding's Head of Global marketing Giovanni Mancini said it can be powered with solar cells used in bus stop signage, for example. Some of the limitations center around the resolution and refresh rate. As of right now, the resolution is only 150 pixels per inch (ppi), which is about half the resolution of a typical 6-inch, monochromatic E ink display. It also takes about two seconds to fully resolve images, which is pretty slow when compared to today's e-readers. The company is currently only focused on using the new color display for commercial signage.

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  • Pastejacking Attack Appends Malicious Terminal Commands To Your Clipboard
    An anonymous reader writes: "It has been possible for a long time for developers to use CSS to append malicious content to the clipboard without a user noticing and thus fool them into executing unwanted terminal commands," writes Softpedia. "This type of attack is known as clipboard hijacking, and in most scenarios, is useless, except when the user copies something inside their terminal." Security researcher Dylan Ayrey published a new version of this attack last week, which uses only JavaScript as the attack medium, giving the attack more versatility and making it now easier to carry out. The attack is called Pastejacking and it uses Javascript to theoretically allow attackers to add their malicious code to the entire page to run commands behind a user's back when they paste anything inside the console. "The attack can be deadly if combined with tech support or phishing emails," writes Softpedia. "Users might think they're copying innocent text into their console, but in fact, they're running the crook's exploit for them."

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  • Elderly Use More Secure Passwords Than Millennials, Says Report
    An anonymous reader writes from a report via Quartz: A report released May 24 by Gigya surveyed 4,000 adults in the U.S. and U.K. and found that 18- to 34-year-olds are more likely to use bad passwords and report their online accounts being compromised. The majority of respondents ages 51 to 69 say they completely steer away from easily cracked passwords like "password," "1234," or birthdays, while two-thirds of those in the 18-to-34 age bracket were caught using those kind of terms. Quartz writes, "The diligence of the older group could help explain why 82% of respondents in this age range did not report having had any of their online accounts compromised in the past year. In contrast, 35% of respondents between 18 and 34 said at least one of their accounts was hacked within the last 12 months, twice the rate of those aged 51 to 69."

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rss: digg

  • Four Women With Very Different Incomes Open Up About The Lives They Can Afford
    Esquire asked four more or less typical women, with annual incomes ranging from just above the poverty line to $1 million, to tell us about the lives they can afford.

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  • How Marissa Mayer Failed To Turn Yahoo Around
    She has had the luxury of running one of the world?s most recognized internet brands, with a surging digital ad market, a cooperative board, a truckload of cash and 1 billion monthly visitors. And still she has failed to turn things around at the beleaguered company.

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  • So This Dude Is Definitely Sleeping While Autopilot Drives His Tesla, Huh?
    Tesla's Autopilot is designed to be used with the driver's supervision, but that didn't stop this Tesla owner from embracing the future and taking a quick snooze.

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  • The Way Banking Should Be
    Meet Simple, online banking with no fees, no overdraft charges, and no worries. The built-in budgeting and savings tools don't hurt.

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  • With Some Clever Kitchen Science, You Can Deep Fry Water
    All you need is a little bit of calcium alginate to give the water a spherical membrane, and voila!

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  • My Son The ISIS Executioner
    How did a kind, clever young man become one of the world?s most wanted terrorists? BuzzFeed News talks exclusively to the mother of one of the four ?Beatles? guards who beheaded 27 hostages about losing both her ?perfect? sons to ISIS.

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  • What Do The Reviews Have To Say About 'X-Men: Apocalypse'?
    "X-Men: Apocalypse" arrives in theaters on Friday, featuring the titular mutant Apocalypse trying to destroy the world. Unfortunately, six movies into the franchise, critics appear to be getting tired of it ? here's what the reviews have to say.

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  • Trevor Noah Tears Apart Trump?s Know-Nothing Support Of The NRA
    "One way or another, the NRA and Trump both make everybody think, 'maybe I should get a gun, just in case.'"

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  • US Releases Millions Of Wasps To Fight Back Against Invasive Insect
    A parasite from China attacks eggs and larvae of an Asian insect pest that has wiped out tens of millions of trees and is on the march to Europe and Britain.

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  • Why This iPhone 6 Costs More Than $50,000
    The phone ? which is missing an FCC logo, serial number, and IMEI number ? runs Switchboard, an internal Apple operating system almost never seen in the wild.

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rss: the register

  • Hooves in spaaace: Goat Simulator goes galactic

    Caprine capers continue with Waste of Space expansion

    Swedish games outfit Coffee Stain Studios has announced it's releasing a galactic expansion to its popular 2014 ram-'em-up Goat Simulator, which finally offered goat wannabes the chance to fulfil their caprine fantasies.?



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  • Bearded Baron Shugs hired by Gov.uk to get down with the kids

    'Bang the drum with me - apprenticeships, startups, apprenticeships, startups'

    PM David Cameron has hired reality TV celebrity Baron Shugs of the BBC* as enterprise tsar, the government confirmed today.?



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  • Microsoft's Windows Phone folly costs it another billion dollars

    1,850 jobs cut - mostly in Finland. Microsoft Mobile. Oy

    The cost of Microsoft?s white elephant entry into smartphone manufacturing has gone up by another $1bn.?



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  • Speaking in Tech: Microsoft's 'Bing concierge bot' appears in the job ads
    Podcast Plus: Is it time to PaaS the buck?

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  • Geniuses at HMRC sack too many staff! Nope, can't do it online. FAIL

    Audit watchdog snarls at taxman for hasty cost-cutting

    HMRC was too hasty to cut staff before expected cost savings from a shift to digital materialised ? something that should act as a cautionary tale for its current "digitisation" plans, the National Audit Office has warned.?



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  • 'Grey tech' broker DP Data Systems has gone titsup

    Vowed to go clean rather than shut up shop. Shuts up shop

    DP Data Systems has given up the ghost just months after committing to quit the grey market in favour of ?authorised? tech.?



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  • ISS 'nauts to inflate pump-up space podule

    Bigelow Expandable Activity Module engorges tomorrow

    Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) will tomorrow pump up the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) - the "first human-rated expandable structure that may help inform the design of deep space habitats".?



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  • Labour scores review of Snoopers' Charter's bulk powers from UK.gov

    Theresa May appoints indie reviewer in letter to Andy Burnham

    IPB Bulk hacking and data collection powers in the Snoopers' Charter are going to be scrutinised by an independent reviewer grudgingly appointed by the government after pressure from Labour.?



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  • Hand the security cookbook to your robot butler: Time to automate

    You can even pour it all into a container...

    One of the main principles of DevOps is that we break down the silos. Rather than having two individual teams for Development and Operations with conflicting goals, there is one group, all pulling in the same direction. But DevOps is about more than two teams now. Testing should be done throughout, not just plugged in at the end, especially with automated testing in every stage of the pipeline.?



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  • British cops to film you with 59k body-worn cameras by end of year

    Yes, they ARE considering cloud storage, how about that

    Police forces are rapidly adopting body worn video (BWV) cameras with as many as 59,000 expected to be in use by the end of 2016/17 ? according to chair of the police BWV user group Stephen Goodier.?



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