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  • How Online Shopping Makes Suckers of Us All
    Thelasko shares an excerpt from a report via The Atlantic, which describes how price discrimination is used in online shopping and how businesses like Amazon try to extract consumer surplus: Will you pay more for those shoes before 7 p.m.? Would the price tag be different if you lived in the suburbs? Standard prices and simple discounts are giving way to far more exotic strategies, designed to extract every last dollar from the consumer. We live in the age of the variable airfare, the surge-priced ride, the pay-what-you-want Radiohead album, and other novel price developments. But what was this? Some weird computer glitch? More like a deliberate glitch, it seems. "It's most likely a strategy to get more data and test the right price," Guru Hariharan explained, after I had sketched the pattern on a whiteboard. The right price -- the one that will extract the most profit from consumers' wallets -- has become the fixation of a large and growing number of quantitative types, many of them economists who have left academia for Silicon Valley. It's also the preoccupation of Boomerang Commerce, a five-year-old start-up founded by Hariharan, an Amazon alum. He says these sorts of price experiments have become a routine part of finding that right price -- and refinding it, because the right price can change by the day or even by the hour. (Amazon says its price changes are not attempts to gather data on customers' spending habits, but rather to give shoppers the lowest price out there.)

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  • A Caterpillar May Lead To a 'Plastic Pollution' Solution
    New submitter FatdogHaiku quotes a report from BBC: Researchers at Cambridge University have discovered that the larvae of the moth, which eats wax in bee hives, can also degrade plastic. Experiments show the insect can break down the chemical bonds of plastic in a similar way to digesting beeswax. The plastic is used to make shopping bags and food packaging, among other things, but it can take hundreds of years to decompose completely. However, caterpillars of the moth (Galleria mellonella) can make holes in a plastic bag in under an hour. They think microbes in the caterpillar -- as well as the insect itself -- might play a role in breaking down plastic. If the chemical process can be identified, it could lead to a solution to managing plastic waste in the environment.

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  • Uber Gets Sued Over Alleged 'Hell' Program To Track Lyft Drivers
    An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Uber has another lawsuit on its hands. This time, it's about Uber's alleged use of a program called "Hell." The plaintiff, Michael Gonzales, drove for Lyft during the time Uber allegedly used the software. He's seeking $5 million in a class action lawsuit. As the story goes, Uber allegedly tracked Lyft drivers using a secret software program internally referred to as "Hell." It allegedly let Uber see how many Lyft drivers were available to give rides, and what their prices were. Hell could allegedly also determine if people were driving for both Uber and Lyft. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleges Uber broadly invaded the privacy of the Lyft drivers, specifically violated the California Invasion of Privacy Act and Federal Wiretap Act and engaged in unfair competition. Uber has not confirmed nor outright denied the claims.

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  • Square Said To Acquire Team From Struggling Social App Yik Yak
    According to Bloomberg, Square has acquired the engineering team of Yik Yak for "less than $3 million." From the report: The payments processor paid less than $3 million for between five and ten of Yik Yak's engineers, according to the person. Atlanta-based Yik Yak's Chief Executive Officer Tyler Droll will not join Square, the person added, asking not to be identified talking about a private matter. Atlanta-based Yik Yak, which started in 2013, created a smartphone app that allowed people to contribute to anonymous chat groups in a narrow geographical radius -- like college campuses.

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  • Slashdot Asks: Which Wireless Carrier Do You Prefer?
    Earlier this year, telecommunications giants like T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon and Sprint were battling to see who could release the best unlimited data plan(s). T-Mobile started the domino chain reaction with the launch of its "One" unlimited plan in August. But the competition became especially fierce in February when Verizon introduced unlimited data plans of their own, causing Sprint and AT&T to unveil new unlimited data plans that same week, both of which have their own restrictions and pricing. Each of the four major carriers have since continued to tweak their plans to ultimately undercut their competitors and retain as many customers are possible. Given how almost everyone has a smartphone these days and the thirst for data has never been higher, we'd like to ask you about your current wireless carrier and plan. Which wireless carrier and plan do you have any why? Is there any one carrier or unlimited data plan that stands out from the others? T-Mobile, for example, recently announced that it added 1.1 million customers in Q1 2017, which means that it has added more than 1 million customers every quarter for the past four years. Have they managed to earn your business?

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  • NSA's DoublePulsar Kernel Exploit a 'Bloodbath'
    msm1267 quotes a report from Threatpost: A little more than two weeks after the latest ShadowBrokers leak of NSA hacking tools, experts are certain that the DoublePulsar post-exploitation Windows kernel attack will have similar staying power to the Conficker bug, and that pen-testers will be finding servers exposed to the flaws patched in MS17-010 for years to come. MS17-010 was released in March and it closes a number of holes in Windows SMB Server exploited by the NSA. Exploits such as EternalBlue, EternalChampion, EternalSynergy and EternalRomance that are part of the Fuzzbunch exploit platform all drop DoublePulsar onto compromised hosts. DoublePulsar is a sophisticated memory-based kernel payload that hooks onto x86 and 64-bit systems and allows an attacker to execute any raw shellcode payload they wish. "This is a full ring0 payload that gives you full control over the system and you can do what you want to it," said Sean Dillon, senior security analyst at RiskSense. Dillon was the first to reverse-engineer a DoublePulsar payload, and published his analysis last Friday. "This is going to be on networks for years to come. The last major vulnerability of this class was MS08-067, and it's still found in a lot of places," Dillon said. "I find it everywhere. This is the most critical Windows patch since that vulnerability." Dan Tentler, founder and CEO of Phobos Group, said internet-net wide scans he's running have found about 3.1 percent of vulnerable machines are already infected (between 62,000 and 65,000 so far), and that percentage is likely to go up as scans continue. "This is easily describable as a bloodbath," Tentler said.

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  • Lyrebird Claims It Can Recreate Anyone's Voice Based On Just a 1 Minute Sample
    Artem Tashkinov writes: Today, a Canadian artificial intelligence startup named Lyrebird unveiled its voice imitation deep learning algorithm that can mimic a person's voice and have it read any text with a given emotion, based on the analysis of just a few dozen seconds of audio recording. The website features samples using the recreated voices of Donald Trump, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. A similar technology was created by Adobe around a year ago but it requires over 20 minutes of recorded speech. The company sets to open its APIs to the public, while the computing for the task will be performed in the cloud.

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  • Verizon's $70 Gigabit Internet Is Half the Price of Older 750Mbps Tier
    An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Verizon is now selling what it calls "FiOS Gigabit Connection" for $69.99 a month in a change that boosts top broadband speeds and makes lower prices available to many Internet subscribers. Actual bandwidth will be a bit lower than a gigabit per second, with "downloads as fast as 940Mbps and uploads as fast as 880Mbps," Verizon's announcement today said. The gigabit service is available in most of Verizon's FiOS territory, specifically to "over 8 million homes in parts of the New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Richmond, Va., Hampton Roads, Va., Boston, Providence and Washington, D.C. areas," Verizon said. Just three months ago, Verizon boosted its top speeds from 500Mbps to 750Mbps. The standalone 750Mbps Internet service cost $150 a month, more than twice the price of the new gigabit tier. Existing customers who bought that 750Mbps plan "will automatically receive FiOS Gigabit Connection and will see their bills lowered," Verizon said. It's not clear whether they will get their price lowered all the way to $70. It's important to note that the $70 price is only available to new customers, and it's a promotional rate that will "increase after promo period." Additionally, Verizon will charge you a $10 per month router charge unless you pay $150 for the Verizon router, plus other taxes and fees.

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  • Microsoft's Nadella Banks On LinkedIn Data To Challenge Salesforce
    Microsoft is rolling out upgrades to its sales software that integrates data from LinkedIn, an initiative that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told Reuters was central to the company's long-term strategy for building specialized business software. From the report: The improvements to Dynamics 365, as Microsoft's sales software is called, are a challenge to market leader Salesforce.com and represent the first major product initiative to spring from Microsoft's $26 billion acquisition of LinkedIn, the business-focused social network. The new features will comb through a salesperson's email, calendar and LinkedIn relationships to help gauge how warm their relationship is with a potential customer. The system will recommend ways to save an at-risk deal, like calling in a co-worker who is connected to the potential customer on LinkedIn. [...] The artificial intelligence, or AI, capabilities of the software would be central, Nadella said. "I want to be able to democratize AI so that any customer using these products is able to, in fact, take their own data and load it into AI for themselves," he said. On Monday, LinkedIn said it has surpassed 500 million members globally, one of the first big milestones for the business social network since its acquisition.

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  • Apple Cuts Affiliate Commissions on Apps and In-App Purchases
    From a report on Mac Stories: Today, Apple announced that it is reducing the commissions it pays on apps and In-App Purchases from 7 percent to 2.5 percent effective May 1st. The iTunes Affiliate Program pays a commission from Apple's portion of the sale of apps and other media when a purchase is made with a link that contains the affiliate credentials of a member of the program. Anyone can join, but the Affiliate Program is used heavily by websites that cover media sold by Apple and app developers.

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rss: digg

  • LSD Microdoses Make People Feel Sharper, And Scientists Want To Know How
    What we do ? and mostly don't ? know about tiny doses of hallucinogens.

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  • What Living With An Eye Patch In A Big City Taught Me
    At first I was tired of telling every curious soul that cancer took my eye, but then something changed.

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  • How Hollywood Remembers Steve Bannon
    He says that, before he became a senior adviser to the President, he was a successful player in the film industry. But what did he actually do?

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  • Do You Know Where Your Protein Powder Comes From?
    Naked Nutrition?s protein powders are made with as few ingredients as possible and are sustainably grown and responsibly sourced. They contain no gluten, soy, GMOs, or artificial sweeteners. Most protein supplements can?t even come close to saying that.

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  • We Are Lisa Simpson
    Lisa Simpson and every ambitious, out-of-place or caring woman hold a special relationship.

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  • A Head-To-Butt-To-Toe Explanation Of What Happens To Your Body On An Airplane
    Nothing about humans flying is natural, and since we've only been doing it for a little more than 100 years, our bodies haven't adapted to the very particular set of stressors we're putting on them.

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  • Guy Goes Off An A Glorious Rant About The Awful Design Of His Honda's Console
    Kirby Gehman is the owner of a 2012 Honda Odyssey and he has had it.

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  • The 10-Year Quest To Make Your Phone Do Everything
    The dream of an all-powerful mobile device that powers the rest of our devices is still alive.

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  • For The Love Of God, Stop Putting Two Spaces After A Period
    Many people still believe two spaces after a period is correct. They are wrong. The two-spaces-after-a-period construction is outmoded and has no place in modern communication.

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  • Utah Jazz Mascot Obliterates Adult Clippers Fan Who Messed With A Kid
    ?The inflatable ball race was marred by shenanigans, and Jazz Bear was having absolutely none of it.

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rss: the register

  • Filer startup Qumulo chosen to help tame the DreamWorks dragon

    Endorsement from SFX house is a major win

    Case study HPE has enabled DreamWorks Animation to replace legacy storage systems by having Qumulo software running on its Apollo servers.?



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  • HipChat SlipChat lets hackers RipChat

    They're going to get plenty of LipChat

    IRC-for-biz HipChat says a vulnerability in a software library used by its HipChat.com service allowed hackers to access private conversations and customer account information.?



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  • Webroot antivirus goes bananas, starts trashing Windows system files

    Even automated security tool thinks Redmond's snooping operating system is 'malicious'

    Webroot's security tools went berserk today, mislabeling key Microsoft Windows system files as malicious and temporarily removing them ? knackering PCs in the process.?



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  • Northrop Grumman can make a stealth bomber ? but can't protect its workers' W-2 tax forms

    'Stolen creds' used to swipe data on aerospace giant's staff

    Northrop Grumman has admitted one of its internal portals was broken into, exposing employees' sensitive tax records to miscreants.?



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  • Lyrebird steals your voice to make you say things you didn't ? and we hate this future

    Imitation is the sincerest form of abuse

    Hastening the arrival of a world in which simulation is indistinguishable from reality, startup Lyrebird has announced plans to power up an online service software can use to imitate a person's voice.?



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  • Swamp-draining Trump pushes ex-AT&T lobbyist to oversee AT&T mega-merger

    Also worked for Google, Comcast, Qualcomm...

    Analysis One of the most popular applause lines from Donald Trump's presidential campaign was that he would "drain the swamp" ? meaning put an end to the corrupt, revolving door of government and private practice that virtually defines modern Washington, DC.?



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  • Nikon snaps at Dutch, German rivals: You stole our chip etch lens tech!

    Japanese biz triggers worldwide semiconductor patent war

    Nikon has declared global legal war on rivals it says are ripping off crucial optical technology it developed to print microchips.?



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  • Alert: If you're running SquirrelMail, Sendmail... why? And oh yeah, remote code vuln found

    This is nuts

    Security researchers have uncovered a critical security hole in SquirrelMail, the open-source webmail project.?



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  • We're 'heartbroken' we got caught selling your email records to Uber, says Unroll.me boss

    Not sorry we did it ? just sorry you're pissed off

    Jojo Hedaya, the CEO of email summarizer Unroll.me, has apologized to his users for not telling them clearly enough that they are the product, not his website.?



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  • It's a Wright off: NetApp confirms SolidFire boss on hiatus, 'will be back' working on other stuff

    I haven't quit, insists founder Dave

    +Comment NetApp says its SolidFire chief Dave Wright is on hiatus ? and his role upon his return will not involve running the storage organization he founded.?



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