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Elon Musk says he could build new particle accelerator tunnel for cheap - CNET - News - January 22, 2019 - 3:35pm
Need a new particle accelerator tunnel? Musk might be your guy.

Stalk my pals on social media and you'll know that the next words out of my mouth will be banana hammock

The Register - January 22, 2019 - 3:30pm
Boffins reckon they can predict what you'll say based on your friends' activity online

The phenomenon of "prescient Facebook advertising", so beloved of conspiracy theorists who think social networks listen to your microphone, might instead simply be evidence of how good Facebook's algorithms have become.…

UPS and Latch add 10 US cities to in-building delivery program - CNET - News - January 22, 2019 - 3:29pm
The partnership allows UPS delivery drivers to leave packages inside multifamily buildings.

Social media can predict what you’ll say, even if you don’t participate

Ars Technica - January 22, 2019 - 3:26pm

Enlarge (credit: Marie Slim / Flickr)

There have been a number of high-profile criminal cases that were solved using the DNA that family members of the accused placed in public databases. One lesson there is that our privacy isn't entirely under our control; by sharing DNA with you, your family has the ability to choose what everybody else knows about you.

Now, some researchers have demonstrated that something similar is true about our words. Using a database of past tweets, they were able to effectively pick out the next words a user was likely to use. But they were able to do so more effectively if they simply had access to what a person's contacts were saying on Twitter.

Entropy is inescapable

The work was done by three researchers at the University of Vermont: James Bagrow, Xipei Liu, and Lewis Mitchell. It centers on three different concepts relating to the informational content of messages on Twitter. The first is the concept of entropy, which in this context describes how many bits are, on average, needed to describe the uncertainty about future word choices. One way of looking at this is that, if you're certain the next word will be chosen from a list of 16, then the entropy will be four (24 is 16). The average social media user has a 5,000-word vocabulary, so choosing at random from among that would be an entropy of a bit more than 12. They also considered the perplexity, which is the value that arises from the entropy—16 in the example we just used where the entropy is four.

Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Canonical brings some bling to the Internet of Things with Snap-happy Ubuntu Core 18 release

The Register - January 22, 2019 - 3:00pm
Ubuntu here, there, everywhere

Canonical unleashed Ubuntu Core 18 on the public today following a beta of the locked-down Linux in December.…

Facial recognition tool tackles illegal chimp trade

BBC Technology News - January 22, 2019 - 2:39pm
Automated software is now scouring social media posts looking for evidence of ape trafficking.

Mysterious Planet Nine hiding beyond Neptune might not be a planet at all - CNET - News - January 22, 2019 - 2:28pm
Planet Nine is a long-theorized super-Earth at the edge of the solar system. New research suggests it's not a planet but a gigantic disk of small bodies.

Tesla reverses charging prices hike

BBC Technology News - January 22, 2019 - 2:27pm
The prices will still go up but by 10% less than originally planned.

Has Fyre Festival burned influencers?

BBC Technology News - January 22, 2019 - 2:16pm
Two new documentaries about the failed event have thrown a spotlight on the influencers and celebrities who promoted it.

Surface: Tested to withstand the NFL. Microsoft firmware updates? Not so much

The Register - January 22, 2019 - 2:11pm
Windows is updating your play-by-play, this may take a while

Microsoft's Surface tablet got an unexpected workout during the recent NFL playoff between the New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs when a frustrated coach flung the fondleslab onto the field.…

Struggling with GDPR compliance? Don't waste money on legal advice: Buy a shredder

The Register - January 22, 2019 - 2:10pm
Oh, and this visitor book. How about a £60 cardboard bin?

There is, it seems, no deterring the General Data Protection Regulation snake-oil sellers, who will happily stick "GDPR compliant" onto whatever they have to hand – including shredders, bins and visitor books.…

Dixons Carphone still counting cost of miserly mobile phone sales

The Register - January 22, 2019 - 1:40pm
Things are, er, looking up though: activist investor Elliott Management is reportedly sniffing around retailer

Distressed retailer Dixons Carphone – reportedly the object of activist investor Elliot Management's affections – today confirmed a 7 per cent tumble in mobile phone sales over the festive period.…

Bird, Lime sued by disability rights activists who claim obstructed sidewalks

Ars Technica - January 22, 2019 - 1:36pm

Enlarge / BIRD Scooters are now available throughout Southern California and have become increasingly popular in San Diego. (credit: John Fredricks/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

A disability rights group has sued the City of San Diego and three companies—including e-scooter startups Bird and Lime—over alleged violations of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act and other related state laws.

The new proposed class-action lawsuit, Montoya et al v. City of San Diego et al, claims that the city has been derelict in its duty to keep city sidewalks, ramps, crosswalks, and curbs free of errant scooters, which in many cases can be significant hazards to people with physical disabilities.

Similarly, the lawsuit claims that these companies are creating these hazards in the first place by creating geo-fencing within the services and have chosen not to attempt to solve this problem.

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

“The Linux of social media”—How LiveJournal pioneered (then lost) blogging

Ars Technica - January 22, 2019 - 1:30pm

Enlarge / No spoilers, but with the departure of a certain high profile fantasy writer, LiveJournal seems to have been left like Jon Snow here.

Last April, famed writer and hero-murderer George R.R. Martin announced that he was hoisting his ancient blog from his moldering LiveJournal onto his personal website. For casual Game of Thrones fans, it was a minor hiccup at best—most clicked the new link and never looked back. For a certain strata of enthusiasts, however, this was a far more momentous move. Described as “the last holdout” by longtime LiveJournal volunteer-turned-employee Janine Costanzo, Martin’s blog was perhaps the once-blogging-giant’s last bond to the world of great pop culture. So while the author may never finish his most beloved literary series, his simple act of Web hosting logistics truly marks the end of an era.

Growing up on the Web at the dawn of the social media age (circa 2007), it felt like all the connectivity-obsessed sites forming the burgeoning core of the new Internet were haunted by a faded spectre called LiveJournal. As a teen, I never actually knew anyone who had one, but I heard whispers and rumors about drama on the service all the time. And based on candid conversations with some of the figures who made LiveJournal what it was, it turns out that impression isn’t far off. LiveJournal, or LJ, as its users lovingly called it, was a different kind of social media service, one that is almost unrecognizable in a world dominated by the anonymity-shattering power of a Facebook or Twitter. But, as many of its former employees attest, LJ ultimately had the opportunity to become one of these “second-generation” social behemoths. Instead, a stubborn userbase and questionable business decisions harried those ambitions. And now, Martin’s latest figurative casualty—the severed LiveJournal—serves as a brief reminder of the platform’s ascendance and the decisions that brought this blogging icon crashing down.

Built from the dorm

Like many eventual household names in tech, LiveJournal started as a one-man project on a lark, driven by a techy teenager with too much time on his hands. As founder Brad Fitzpatrick recalls, in 1998, after getting kicked off America Online for messing with its service too much, he managed to convince a local ISP to enable his personal website to use the Common Gateway Interface protocol. The move allowed him to write custom scripts that would produce dynamic objects on his page, such as his exact age in seconds, counting ever upward with each refresh. The novelty of these dynamic objects astounded Fitzpatrick, to the point that he eventually made a one-line textbox that floated above his desktop’s Start bar so he could type in and post to his site.

Read 27 remaining paragraphs | Comments plans £2,500 fines for kids flying toy drones within 3 MILES of airports

The Register - January 22, 2019 - 1:08pm
Families playing in gardens targeted with new powers

Families living near airports whose children fly toy helicopters in their gardens could be fined up to £2,500 under new government plans that, er, flew under the radar during the ongoing Brexit chaos.…

France wants in on the No Huawei Club while Canuck infosec bloke pretty insistent on ban

The Register - January 22, 2019 - 12:38pm
Founder warns that 'mediocre employees' may have to go

French parliament is reportedly mulling a ban on Huawei kit being used in next-generation telco networks, potentially heaping further pressure on the Chinese headquartered giant.…

EasyJet says drone chaos was 'wake-up call' for airports

BBC Technology News - January 22, 2019 - 12:30pm
Airline says flight cancellations customers payments following Gatwick drone disruption cost it £15m.

Want to spin up Ubuntu VMs from Windows 10's command line, eh? We'll need to see a Multipass

The Register - January 22, 2019 - 12:01pm
Don't need full-fat GUI? WSL doesn't cut it? Canonical has just the ticket

Windows 10 developers have been gifted yet another way of running Linux on their desktop in the form of Canonical's Multipass.…

Disability hate crime: Katie Price backed by MPs over online abuse

BBC Technology News - January 22, 2019 - 11:51am
The model is calling for new laws to protect disabled people online after her son Harvey was trolled.

Get in the bin: Let's Encrypt gives admins until February 13 to switch off TLS-SNI-01

The Register - January 22, 2019 - 11:31am
End-of-life followed 2018 fake Website certificate drama

If you're still using TLS-SNI-01, stop: a year after a slip-up allowed miscreants to claim Let's Encrypt certificates for domains they didn't own, the free certificate authority has announced the final sunset of the protocol involved.…

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