Apple fires back in Fortnite App Store battle

Found on BBC News on Thursday, 10 September 2020
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It denied that its 30% commission was anti-competitive and said the fight was "a basic disagreement over money".

The legal battle between the two companies comes as Apple faces increased scrutiny of its practices running the App Store.

It's all about money? Now who would have expected that?

Nominet again sends punters pushy emails to pay up

Found on The Register on Wednesday, 09 September 2020
Browse Internet

Nominet is fully aware that the .uk names it is pushing were never ordered by people in the first place. When dot-uk was opened up several years ago so that you could register things like mycompany.uk as well as mycompany.co.uk, domain registrars had a brainwave: if a customer owned, say, blablahblah.co.uk, blablahblah.uk would be registered automatically for them. Now those freebie domains are expiring, and no one's renewing them – because people didn't want them in the first place, hence this latest pressure campaign.

The idea itself sounds pretty shady. You can't just give a product to someone and have him pay for it.

Over 250 Messages About Code of Conduct Complaints Against Linus Torvalds

Found on Linux Reviews on Tuesday, 08 September 2020
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He has every right to express that opinion, even if someone felt ‘hurt’ or ‘uncomfortable’ with that opinion. This is what free speech is about, but not everyone shares that view; to some people, only ‘comfortable’ or 100% politically-correct messages are tolerable, acceptable and permissible. So it’s basically a trap, or a sort of ‘set-up’ for canceling or banishing people.

There are too many offended snowflakes.

Amazon’s top UK reviewers appear to profit from fake 5-star posts

Found on Ars Technica on Monday, 07 September 2020
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Amazon is investigating the most prolific reviewers on its UK website after a Financial Times investigation found evidence that they were profiting from posting thousands of five-star ratings.

The FT’s analysis suggested nine of Amazon’s current UK top 10 providers of ratings were engaged in suspicious behavior, with huge numbers of five-star reviews of exclusively Chinese products from unknown brands and manufacturers.

Amazon is overloaded with fakes and junk. You simply cannot trust reviews; they are completely useless.

These students figured out their tests were graded by AI — and the easy way to cheat

Found on The Verge on Sunday, 06 September 2020
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Lazare clarified that he’d received his grade less than a second after submitting his answers. A teacher couldn’t have read his response in that time, Simmons knew — her son was being graded by an algorithm.

"Algorithm update. He cracked it: Two full sentences, followed by a word salad of all possibly applicable keywords. 100% on every assignment. Students on @EdgenuityInc, there's your ticket. He went from an F to an A+ without learning a thing."

They often copy the text of their questions and paste it into the answer field, assuming it’s likely to contain the relevant keywords. One told me they used the trick all throughout last semester and received full credit “pretty much every time.”

Expect more stupid people in the future, thanks to AI education and cheating.

An innocent typo led to a giant 212-story obelisk in Microsoft Flight Simulator

Found on The Verge on Saturday, 05 September 2020
Browse Pranks

University student Nathan Wright made an edit to OpenStreetMap data for part of his degree work last year, adding more than two hundred stories to a building that’s actually just two stories. Wright meant to type 2, but instead he typed 212 in the data section for floors.

The typo made its way into Microsoft’s Bing Maps data, which Asobo Studio, the developers behind Microsoft Flight Simulator, uses to map out the world in the game.

Never trust data.

Amazon Drivers Are Hanging Smartphones in Trees to Get More Work

Found on Blomberg on Friday, 04 September 2020
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The reason for the odd placement, according to experts and people with direct knowledge of Amazon’s operations, is to take advantage of the handsets’ proximity to the station, combined with software that constantly monitors Amazon’s dispatch network, to get a split-second jump on competing drivers.

Much the way milliseconds can mean millions to hedge funds using robotraders, a smartphone perched in a tree can be the key to getting a $15 delivery route before someone else.

There's something very wrong at Amazon when workers have to use such methods to get some work.

Sendgrid Under Siege from Hacked Accounts

Found on Krebs on Security on Thursday, 03 September 2020
Browse Internet

Email service provider Sendgrid is grappling with an unusually large number of customer accounts whose passwords have been cracked, sold to spammers, and abused for sending phishing and email malware attacks.

To make matters worse, links included in emails sent through Sendgrid are obfuscated (mainly for tracking deliverability and other metrics), so it is not immediately clear to recipients where on the Internet they will be taken when they click.

The only good thing about services like Sendgrid is that you can send users there to keep their newsletters off your own mailservers.

Doorbell Cameras Like Ring Give Early Warning of Police Searches, FBI Warned

Found on The Intercept on Wednesday, 02 September 2020
Browse Technology

According to a leaked FBI bulletin, law enforcement has discovered an ironic downside to ubiquitous privatized surveillance: The cameras are alerting residents when police show up to conduct searches.

Sometimes the police are the unannounced, unwanted visitor: “Subjects likely use IoT devices to hinder LE [law enforcement] investigations and possibly monitor LE activity,” the bulletin states. “If used during the execution of a search, potential subjects could learn of LE’s presence nearby, and LE personnel could have their images captured, thereby presenting a risk to their present and future safety.”

Well that took them long enough to realize that.

Yet Another Study Shows U.S. 5G Is Far Slower Than Many Other Nations

Found on Techdirt on Tuesday, 01 September 2020
Browse Technology

U.S. regulators failed to make mid-band spectrum (which offers faster speeds at greater range) widely available, many U.S. wireless carriers like Verizon embraced higher millimeter wave spectrum (which has trouble with range and building wall penetration) or low-band spectrum (which offers greater range but at notably reduced speeds).

Companies like Verizon advertise 5G as a near-mystical panacea that's capable of revolutionizing everything from smart cities to cancer treatment, even though a closer examination usually shows that's simply not true.

5G is just buzzword bingo.