Global virus fear prompts update for old Windows

Found on BBC News on Thursday, 16 May 2019
Browse Software

One patch is for Windows XP, which debuted in 2001 and Microsoft stopped supporting in 2014.

It was "highly likely" the vulnerability would be exploited if it went unpatched, wrote Simon Pope, Microsoft's director of incident response, in a blog about the bug.

Market industry data suggests about 3.75% of desktop machines currently use XP or its variants.

So much for a so-called dead system.

Parliament gets its knife out for veggie burgers

Found on Politico on Wednesday, 15 May 2019
Browse Legal-Issues

MEPs in the European Parliament's agriculture committee are now pushing to enshrine into law that only meat products can use words such as "steak," "sausage," "escalope," "burger" and "hamburger."

Needless to say, environmentalists and vegetarian food providers see an outright assault on increasingly popular plant-based foods.

If you need to give your food a meat-connected name, then you are not really supporting the idea behind it. As long as you need to lie to yourself (or worse, your customers), you might as well drop the farce and eat real meat. However, if you see a vegan life as an enjoyable alternative, you do not need to stay tied to what you want to leave behind.

Uber’s stock plunges for a second straight day

Found on Ars Technica on Tuesday, 14 May 2019
Browse Various

Uber's stock fell 7.6 percent on Friday, its first day as a publicly traded firm. The bloodbath continued on Monday, with Uber's stock price falling by an additional 10.7 percent.

As recently as last October, some Wall Street banks were estimating that the company could be valued as high as $120 billion. At Monday's closing price of $37.10, Uber is worth barely half that, at $62 billion.

Uber has never made an annual profit, and in recent quarters, the company has been losing more than $1 billion per quarter.

Just lean back and enjoy the show. Stock market "experts" are wrong; by a factor of two even. Hopefully it will keep on falling and teach those experts a lesson. On the other hand, those locusts will just move on to their next target and swindle more money out of investors.

Facebook sues app maker, says it made millions misusing Facebook user data

Found on Ars Technica on Monday, 13 May 2019
Browse Internet

Facebook has sued a data analytics company that operated apps on the Facebook platform for nearly a decade, saying the company misused Facebook data to sell advertising and marketing services.

Facebook's lawsuit seeks a court order requiring the company to delete Facebook user data and suggests that Rankwave may have sold the user data to other unidentified entities. Rankwave refused to tell Facebook which entities it sold data to and refused to "[p]rovide a full accounting of Facebook user data in its possession," Facebook says.

Data which was handed over because of Facebook itself. How cute.

Goodbye, Shadowman: Red Hat changes its logo

Found on ZD Net on Sunday, 12 May 2019
Browse Various

Decades ago, Red Hat came up with its iconic logo: Shadowman. Times change, however, and so do Linux companies.

Tim Yeaton, Red Hat executive vice president and chief marketing officer, explained: "An early 2017 survey had revealed that people saw Shadowman as 'Sinister. Secretive. Evil. Sneaky.' These respondents might not have known anything about Red Hat, but they did believe that man lurking in the shadows didn't immediately inspire their trust. In their survey responses, they wondered who he was and what he was doing in the logo."

It's a logo, nothing more. Not everything has to succumb to marketing research. Those who are remotely familiar with Linux know the logo; there is no reason that every cake-baking grandmother across the street has a happy day when looking at it.

Timely Trump tariffs tax tech totally: 25 per cent levy

Found on The Register on Saturday, 11 May 2019
Browse Politics

The ramping up of tariffs come in an apparent game of high-stakes chicken between President Trump and the Chinese government. Trade talks, soon coming to a conclusion between the two sides, may make for good TV but are causing concern for American businesses who will have to pay significantly more for essential imported components and equipment.

China responded to the latest tariffs this week by saying that it "deeply regrets that it will have to take necessary countermeasures," and hopes that "the US and the Chinese side will work together and work together to resolve existing problems through cooperation and consultation."

Yes, global economy is so weak that a single person can put a dent into it. Countries should prefer to be less depending on others and support their own industry.

The elite soldiers protecting the Amazon rainforest

Found on BBC News on Friday, 10 May 2019
Browse Nature

French Guiana, a small French overseas territory on the north-eastern coast of South America, is one of the most forested nations on the planet, but its precious ecosystem is under threat from illegal gold mining.

Since then, the price of gold has continued to soar and rampant illegal gold mining has destroyed swathes of jungle from Ecuador across Peru, Colombia and Venezuela to Brazil.

They should just leave the bodies of the illegal miners in the forest; nature will take care of them. It's not only illegal gold mining though; a lot of forest vanishes for plantations to grow coconut palms for fat and oil. All with a "Bio" label...

Age verification biz claims no-payment model for 40% of Brits ahead of July pr0n ban

Found on The Register on Thursday, 09 May 2019
Browse Censorship

A startup is claiming to have signed age verification contracts with a host of smut site operators – and is hoping 40 per cent of Britons will display their privates to it in July.

The company has not responded to The Register's enquiries about its business model, given that its website boasts that it charges neither consumers or porn companies for its services.

With the British government seemingly hellbent on forcing Britons to compromise their privacy and personal data in order to access certain internet services used by many folk, whether or not they admit it, companies like these are going to be springing up everywhere.

It would not be surprising if the visited websites could link your visit to your account.

Proposal to spend 25% of EU budget on climate change

Found on BBC News on Wednesday, 08 May 2019
Browse Nature

It was signed by France, Belgium, Denmark, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden.

But not everyone is on board - there are 28 countries in the EU, and several of those absent from the joint position statement are significant players - including Germany.

The position of the eight countries is that climate change has "profound implications for the future of humanity" and that its impacts are already apparent - citing "the heat waves and scorching fires of last summer".

But several countries oppose strengthening current commitments, which have proven difficult to stick to just two years after the Paris climate agreement was signed.

Political and economic giant Germany is among them, fearing that further action could damage its industry.

It was not too long ago when "Climate Chancellor" Angela Merkel did not get tired to underline how important it is to stop the climate change; but when all that hot-air speeches require real action, there suddenly is no interest anymore. Even worse, the position completely changed. Now you have politicians like Altmaier who say that climate protection will only work as long as prosperity is not affected. People like him have no clue what the world is facing right now.

Why a Republican senator wants the FTC to throw the book at Facebook

Found on Ars Technica on Tuesday, 07 May 2019
Browse Internet

"The FTC must set a resounding precedent that is heard by Facebook and any other tech company that disregards the law in a rapacious quest for growth," write Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.). "The commission should pursue deterrent monetary penalties and impose forceful accountability measures on Facebook."

The Republican chairman reportedly favors a fine of around $5 billion and has the backing of the other two Republican commissioners. In its last quarterly earnings statement, Facebook said it was budgeting $3 billion to $5 billion for an expected FTC fine.

But the two Democrats consider this inadequate. They not only want a larger fine, they're also seeking to hold Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg personally responsible for the company's missteps.

In their letter, Blumenthal and Hawley firmly side with the Democrats in this intra-agency fight. The pair describes a $5 billion fine as a "bargain" for a company with $15 billion in quarterly revenues, and they also argue that "fines alone are insufficient."

You have to hit them, and you have to hit them hard. Otherwise they won't learn from it.