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Thomas Claburn

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Facebook U-turn: React, other libraries freed from unloved patent license

Faced with growing dissatisfaction about licensing requirements for some of its open-source projects, Facebook today said it will move React, Jest, Flow, and Immutable.js under the MIT license next week. "We're relicensing these projects because React is the foundation of a broad ecosystem of open source software for the web, …
Thomas Claburn, 22 Sep 2017

For Facebook, ignorance is the business model: Social net is shocked – SHOCKED – that people behave badly

Analysis No one at Facebook had any idea anyone might use its ad tools to target "Jew haters," said COO Sheryl Sandberg earlier this week. Of course not. Facebook, like its rival Google, thrives on the income of ignorance and contrition. To prevent money laundering, financial institutions must comply with know-your-customer laws. …
Thomas Claburn, 22 Sep 2017

Crap cracked fat-attack Pact app chaps slapped in pact backtrack infract

Defunct mobile app company Pact broke its pact with customers to pay them promised cash incentives, US trade watchdog the FTC said on Thursday. Pact, which shut down in July, described itself as a 15-person San Francisco startup on its website. Few if any people remain. According to the FTC, the Khosla Ventures-funded startup …
Thomas Claburn, 21 Sep 2017
Protestor barricade image via Shutterstock

Has science gone too far, part 97: Boffins craft code to find protesters on social networks, rate them on their violence

Mining social networks for every scrap of information about our online lives is now common practice for marketers, academics, government agencies, and so on. Text in tweets, blogs and other posts is valuable because it's searchable, analyzable, and not terribly costly to crawl, fetch or store. But ongoing computer vision …
Thomas Claburn, 21 Sep 2017
New Virginia Tech drone test

From the Dept of the Bleedin' Obvious... yes, drones hurt when they hit you in the head

Being hit in the head by a drone won't necessarily end in decapitation. Thanks to aeronautical boffins, we know now that there is a range of possible outcomes. Not content to let the US Federal Aviation Administration ponder drone drubbings – something the agency did in April – researchers from Virginia Tech and State …
Thomas Claburn, 21 Sep 2017
Facebook Menlo Park HQ Editorial use only

GitLab freezes GraphQL project amid looming Facebook patent fears

Using GraphQL, an increasingly popular query language for grabbing data, may someday infringe upon pending Facebook patents, making the technology inherently problematic for corporate usage. In an analysis posted to Medium and in a related discussion in the GraphQL repo on GitHub, attorney and developer Dennis Walsh observed …
Thomas Claburn, 20 Sep 2017
Knightscope K7

Behold, says robo-mall-cop maker: Our crime-busting dune buggy packed with spy gear

Pics In a modest industrial building in Mountain View, California, on Tuesday, security startup Knightscope unveiled the latest additions to its line of "crime-fighting robots" – the K1, a stationary weapon detector, and the K7, a sensor-laden dune buggy for challenging terrain. The upstart's earlier models, the K3 and the K5, can …
Thomas Claburn, 20 Sep 2017

Stack Overflow + Salary Calculator = your worth

Developers may be no more curious about salaries than any other set of workers, but their high degree of variation in terms of education, skillset and experience – not to mention the often ill-defined nature of their work – gives them ample reason to be curious about pay among their peers. Stack Overflow, a community site …
Thomas Claburn, 19 Sep 2017
search

Google, Bing, Yahoo! data hoarding is like homeopathy. It doesn't work – new study claims

Data, it has been argued, is the new oil – the fuel for the information economy – but its importance to search engines may be overstated. In a paper released on Monday through the National Bureau of Economic Research, Lesley Chiou, an associate professor at Occidental College, and Catherine Tucker, a professor at the MIT Sloan …
Thomas Claburn, 19 Sep 2017

Bloke fesses up: I forged judge's signature to strip stuff from Google search

It may have seemed like a good idea at the time – treating a judge's takedown order as a Photoshop template that could be modified as needed to demand that Google remove any unwanted information. But on Friday, Michael Arnstein, 40, of Kailua, Hawaii, pled guilty to conspiring to forge a US federal judge's signature to erase …
Thomas Claburn, 18 Sep 2017

Pretend Python packages prey on poor typing

The Slovakian National Security Authority on Thursday warned that PyPI, the repository for Python software packages, has been hosting malicious software libraries. The group's cybersecurity division, SK-CSIRT, identified 10 fake libraries designed to dupe developers through typosquatting. The names of the malicious libraries …
Thomas Claburn, 15 Sep 2017
Google faces antitrust charges in the European Union

Google sued for paying women less than men

Three former Google employees filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the company on Thursday over charges of unfair pay and promotion. The complaint [PDF] – filed in San Francisco, California, by law firms Altshuler Berzon, LLP and Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP – alleges that Google systematically pays women …
Thomas Claburn, 15 Sep 2017

Python explosion blamed on pandas

Not content to bait developers by declaring that Python is the fastest-growing major programming language, coding community site Stack Overflow has revealed the reason for its metastasis. Coming a day after Programmer Day, which falls on the 256th day of the year – except January 7: – the explanatory post by data scientist …
Thomas Claburn, 14 Sep 2017
Bodega AI image

Bespoke vending machine biz Bodega AI trips cultural landmine

A startup called Bodega AI, facing an unanticipated Twitter tempest, has rushed to reassure people that it isn't out to kick mom-and-pop stores to the curb. The venture-funded firm, which makes software and hardware to create "delightful automated stores" – what normals might call vending machines, but for their Ikea affect – …
Thomas Claburn, 14 Sep 2017
Apple Beats headphones

Apple's 'shoddy' Beats headphones get slammed in lawsuit

Apple pitches its Powerbeats headphones to the public with images of celebrated athletes and ad copy insisting that the devices are durable and sweat resistant. But a handful of people who purchased Powerbeats insist their costly head clamps are defective junk, and they're suing Apple over false advertising and its alleged …
Thomas Claburn, 13 Sep 2017
Cows walk on green field in front of silos

Government lab that gives a crap pushes open source

The US government wants you to use its software, and if you're into manure, so much the better. The Idaho National Laboratory (INL), part of the US Department of Energy, last week released a new round of open-source projects in the hope that the public will take its research and run with it. Known for its MOOSE physics …
Thomas Claburn, 13 Sep 2017
A close up at atomic level of limpits' teeth. Image via Portsmouth University

Bluetooth bugs bedevil billions of devices

Security experts have long complained that complexity is the enemy of security, but the designers of the Bluetooth specification have evidently failed to pay attention. Bluetooth is a wireless communication protocol for connecting devices over short ranges. It's used in mobile phones, wireless speakers, smartwatches, printers …
Thomas Claburn, 12 Sep 2017
Scientist says nope. Photo by SHutterstock

Boffins fear we might be running out of ideas

Innovation, fetishized by Silicon Valley companies and celebrated by business boosters, no longer provides the economic jolt it once did. In order to maintain Moore's Law – by which transistor density doubles every two years or so – it now takes 18 times as many scientists as it did in the 1970s. That means each researcher's …
Thomas Claburn, 11 Sep 2017
Tesla Supercharger station

Achievement unlocked: Tesla boosts batteries for Irma refugees

Over the weekend Tesla began pushing a software update to certain Model S and Model X vehicles to increase battery capacity, in the hope that extended vehicle range might help customers fleeing Hurricane Irma and successive storms in Florida. "Due to these exceptional circumstances, and to help you better prepare to evacuate …
Thomas Claburn, 11 Sep 2017
Monty Python Galaxy Song

Everyone loves programming in Python! You disagree? But it's the fastest growing, says Stack Overflow

Python, which ranks consistently as one of the most popular programming languages, is the fastest growing major programming language, according to coding community site Stack Overflow. Stack Overflow's metric here is visits to website posts tagged "Python" compared to posts tagged with other programming languages – …
Thomas Claburn, 09 Sep 2017
stock_ticker_board_648

Shocking: Former Amazon analyst fed frat brother insider info

A former financial analyst at Amazon.com pled guilty on Thursday to securities fraud for helping a former fraternity brother trade Amazon stock based on insider information. Brett D Kennedy, 26, a resident of Blaine, Washington, acknowledged that in April 2015 he provided confidential financial information – Amazon's Q1 2015 …
Thomas Claburn, 08 Sep 2017
Javascript photo via Shutterstock

Facebook ties JavaScript code together with Yarn

Facebook, known for telling tales about users it doesn't have, has spun another sort of yarn. The ad gavage network on Thursday released Yarn 1.0, the latest update to the open source JavaScript package manager introduced last year with the help of Google, Exponent and Tilde. Yarn is an alternative to npm (Node Package …
Thomas Claburn, 08 Sep 2017
Red Hat AnsibleFest 2017

Red Hat speed fiends celebrate automation

While tech luminaries fret about the world-killing potential of self-directed computers amid galas and globetrotting, the industry's worker bees see automation as salvation from soul-killing drudgery. So it was at AnsibleFest in San Francisco on Thursday, which proved to be more sysadmin speed evangelism than freewheeling …
Thomas Claburn, 08 Sep 2017

Oracle 'systematically denies' its sales reps their commissions, forces them to work to pay off 'debts', court told

A former Oracle sales rep seeking to resolve a pay dispute has asked a California court to force the company to participate in arbitration over all wage claims against the database giant. Marcella Johnson, in her US district court filing [PDF] on Wednesday, claims Oracle "systematically denied her and other sales …
Thomas Claburn, 07 Sep 2017
Oracle's Java is 20 years old

Must go faster, must go faster! Oracle lobs Java EE into GitHub, vows rapid Java SE releases

Oracle plans to accelerate the pace of Java SE releases – and has moved Java EE's code repository to GitHub in keeping with its avowed desire to step back from managing the beast. Java SE has been on a two-year release cycle. That's no longer fast enough, according to Mark Reinhold, chief architect of Oracle’s Java platform …
Thomas Claburn, 06 Sep 2017

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