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Thomas Claburn

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Linux penguin canape... snacks. Photo by SHutterstock

Linux kernel security gurus Grsecurity oust freeloaders from castle

Linux users, the free lunch is over. Pennsylvania-based Open Source Security on Wednesday decided to stop making test patches of Grsecurity available for free. The software, a set of powerful Linux kernel security enhancements, includes features such as support for role-based access controls and chroot restrictions that harden …
Thomas Claburn, 26 Apr 2017

Try to sell stuff through Facebook Marketplace and get locked out for 72 hours – nice one, Zuck

Netizens trying to sell items in Facebook Marketplace for the first time were completely locked out of the social network for 72 hours this week. The banishment appears to be a consequence of Facebook's desire to vet photos of Marketplace sellers. Facebook leaves content verification to its community because, as CEO Mark …
Thomas Claburn, 26 Apr 2017
VR viewing marathon image

'Grueling' record-breaking VR movie marathon triggers hallucinations

A New Yorker and a transplant from London to the Big Apple last week managed to endure watching virtual reality videos for 50 hours non-stop, setting a Guinness World Record in the process. For their trouble, they raised their heart rates, hallucinated, and experienced involuntary open-eyed "micro-naps." It's not clear how …
Thomas Claburn, 26 Apr 2017

Irish Stripe techie denied entry to US – for having wrong stamp in passport

An Irish Stripe worker was denied entry to America because they had a Somalian stamp in their passport, according to the payment-processing biz's CEO. Chief exec Patrick Collison shared the tale of his employee's clash with US immigration officials to highlight a concern, shared among many in Silicon Valley who rely on skilled …
Thomas Claburn, 26 Apr 2017
Satan in Hell from South Park

Uber sued by ex-Lyft driver tormented by app maker's 'Hell' spyware

A former Lyft driver is suing Uber alleging the ride-summoning biz spied on his movements and violated privacy, competition, and communications laws. Plaintiff Michael Gonzales, who drove for Lyft from 2012 through November 2014, filed suit in San Francisco, California, on Monday, claiming Uber developed and deployed software …
Thomas Claburn, 25 Apr 2017
His master's voice

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

Hastening the arrival of a world in which simulation is indistinguishable from reality, startup Lyrebird has announced plans to power up an online service that can imitate a person's voice. Given roughly a minute of voice samples from a specific person, the upstart's system can, via an API, convert supplied text into spoken …
Thomas Claburn, 24 Apr 2017
Java, photo via Shutterstock

Stanford Uni's intro to CompSci course adopts JavaScript, bins Java

In early April, Stanford University began piloting a new version of its introductory computer science course, CS 106A. The variant, CS 106J, is taught in JavaScript rather than Java. "[CS 106J] covers the same material as CS 106A but does so using JavaScript, the most common language for implementing interactive web pages, …
Thomas Claburn, 24 Apr 2017
Doctor Who – The Girl Who Died. Pic credit: BBC

Doctor Who-inspired proxy transmogrifies politically sensitive web to avoid gov censorship

Computer boffins in Canada are working on anti-censorship software called Slitheen that disguises disallowed web content as government-sanctioned pablum. They intend for it to be used in countries where network connections get scrutinized for forbidden thought. Slitheen – named after Doctor Who aliens capable of mimicking …
Thomas Claburn, 21 Apr 2017

Wait – we can explain, says Moby, er, Docker amid rebrand meltdown

Docker seemingly became Moby this week, a rebranding exercise that sparked more confusion than clarity among those following container software. Docker (the company) decided to differentiate Docker (the commercial software products Docker CE and Docker EE) from Docker (the open source project). So at DockerCon in Austin, …
Thomas Claburn, 21 Apr 2017

FYI – There's a legal storm brewing in Cali that threatens to destroy online free speech

Analysis Tech giants and rights groups have flooded the California Supreme Court with a dozen friend-of-the court briefs pleading for the reversal of a defamation ruling that threatens online speech protections. First, rewind to 2013, when a woman by the name of Ava Bird allegedly posted a negative review of San Francisco attorney Dawn …
Thomas Claburn, 20 Apr 2017
Facebook F8, Day Two

Zuckerberg's absolutely mental: Brain sensors that read YOUR MIND at 100 words a minute

F8 2017 Facebook sees such promise in virtual reality that it has taken to celebrating products and services that don't exist outside laboratory settings, like brain interfaces, augmented reality glasses, and "hearing" through one's skin. During the second day of its F8 developer conference on Wednesday, representatives of the social …
Thomas Claburn, 20 Apr 2017

Please don't call them Facebook chatbots, says Facebook's bot boss

F8 2017 Facebook all but admitted the failure of chatbots last month – with the announcement that developers building Messenger bot can hide text input boxes and offer menu-driven conversations instead. Chatbots were billed by some as the new user interface for apps: rather than tap on icons and swipe through screens, you tell the …
Thomas Claburn, 19 Apr 2017
Mark Zuckerberg at F8 2017

Zuckerberg: Escape from the real world into my goofy make-believe science-fiction fantasy

F8 2017 Amid the fallout over the killing of an elderly man broadcast via Facebook on Sunday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg declared, "Our next focus is building community." Facebook's approach to this civic construction project involves superimposing graphic effects on real-world images through augmented reality (AR) tools. Speaking at the F8 …
Thomas Claburn, 18 Apr 2017

Ex-IBMer sues Google for $10bn – after his web ad for 'divine honey cancer cure' was pulled

Shajar Abid, a former senior engineer at IBM and presently the "chief visionary officer" at Nubius Technologies LLC, has filed a lawsuit against Google, claiming that the online ad giant has suppressed his freedom of speech and religion. Abid, who goes by the first name "Shaq" on LinkedIn, claims to have developed "a divine …
Thomas Claburn, 07 Apr 2017
Twitter flock

Twitter's motto: If at first you screwed developers over, try, try again, eh?

After taking developers for a ride and then repeatedly driving into a ditch, Twitter has a new destination in mind and has produced a roadmap to reassure those who haven't already leapt out the door. The turmoil-prone, cash-burning, executive-churning social media biz on Thursday said it will unify its API platform, combining …
Thomas Claburn, 06 Apr 2017
google's custom Tensor Processing Unit

Revealed: Blueprints to Google's AI FPU aka the Tensor Processing Unit

Analysis In 2013, Google realized that its growing dependence on machine learning would force it to double the number of data centers it operates to handle projected workloads. Based on the scant details Google provides about its data center operations – which include 15 major sites – the search-and-ad giant was looking at additional …
Thomas Claburn, 06 Apr 2017
gamers playing games

Do not insert coin: Uni of Utah to dish out scholarships to ace video game players

The University of Utah on Wednesday said it will offer scholarships to students who excel at esports – meaning they can play, say, League of Legends for the US college to pay their way through an engineering degree. The uni's newly formed varsity esports program is the first such program for an institution participating in the …
Thomas Claburn, 05 Apr 2017

It's not just Elon building bridges to the brain: The Internet of Things is coming to a head

Technical work demands tools. Software developers have integrated development environments and text editors. Genetic researchers have gene sequencing machines and CRISPR. Doctors have too many toys to name. Bryan Johnson, founder and CEO of Kernel, wants to build tools for interacting with the human brain. For all the fawning …
Thomas Claburn, 05 Apr 2017
Apple Mac Pro

Mac Pro update: Apple promises another pricey thing it will no doubt abandon after a year

Promising today that a new Mac Pro is being developed, Apple SVP of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller admitted the tech giant rather disappointed the workstation world by making its "most radical Mac ever" insufficiently expandable. Schiller – along with SVP of software engineering Craig Federighi, VP of hardware engineering …
Thomas Claburn, 04 Apr 2017
FTC scam lawsuit

FTC accuses man of faking its news to further tech support scam

An alleged PC tech support scam that used fake news releases from the US Federal Trade Commission to make its false claims more believable has attracted the attention of the consumer watchdog agency in the form of a lawsuit. The FTC on Monday sued Lake Worth, Florida, resident Daniel L Croft, doing business as PC Guru Tech …
Thomas Claburn, 03 Apr 2017

Tech visa saber-rattling more sound than fury

Technology firms in the US seeking to hire computer programmers from abroad using the H‑1B visa program may have more trouble doing so, as a consequence of both Trump administration policies and lawmaker concerns that emerged during the Obama administration. As it began accepting H-1B visa petitions for fiscal 2018, US …
Thomas Claburn, 03 Apr 2017
Man sloppily eats a hamburger... chips and pickle fall out. Photo by Shutterstock

Is your iOS app piling on weight? Blame Xcode 8.3: We shed light on Apple's bloat riddle

Apple's iOS 10.3 this week brought with it minor storage space gains, thanks to the debut of the iGiant's revised storage scheme, the Apple File System. But among app developers, such efficiency gains, a gigabyte or two of extra capacity, were undone by binary bloat brought on by Apple's development suite Xcode, specifically …
Thomas Claburn, 31 Mar 2017

Y'know CSS was to kill off HTML table layout? Well, second time's a charm: Meet CSS Grid

With the release of Safari 10.1 this week, four major browsers in the space of a month have implemented support for CSS Grid, an emerging standard for two-dimensional grid layouts in web applications. For front-end web designers, this is a big deal. In a tweet, Eric Meyer, web development author and co-founder of A List Apart …
Thomas Claburn, 31 Mar 2017
a hostile drone

How to leak data from an air-gapped PC – using, er, a humble scanner

Cybercriminals managed to infect a PC in the design department of Contoso Ltd through a cleverly crafted spear-phishing campaign. Now they need a way to communicate with the compromised machine in secret. Unfortunately, they know Contoso's impenetrable network defenses will detect commands sent to their malware. To avoid …
Thomas Claburn, 30 Mar 2017

Bloke is paid to scour hashtags for threats, spots civil rights boss's tweets, gets fired, sues

A chap whose job was to investigate threats on social networks is suing the Oregon Department of Justice – for allegedly retaliating against him after his online sleuthing led him to the agency's own director of civil rights. In September 2015, James R Williams was working for the Oregon TITAN Fusion Center Unit, one of …
Thomas Claburn, 29 Mar 2017

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