Start up: Samsung’s US chance, Google’s RTBF extension, hacking Isil, bionic feels!, and more

The world of professional bridge is struggling with accusations of cheating. But how do you prevent people communicating in code, if they can communicate? Photo by jaxx2kde on Flickr.

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A selection of 9 links for you. Effortless. I’m charlesarthur on Twitter. Observations and links welcome.

Sizing the US opportunity for Samsung Galaxy S7 & S7 edge » Kantar Worldpanel

Carolina Milanesi:

»By the end of January [2016], the Galaxy S6 represented only 9% of Samsung’s installed base in the US, and the Galaxy S6 edge a mere 2%. The Galaxy S5 remained the most popular device in the installed base, representing 21.5% followed by the Galaxy S4 – now a three-year-old phone – at 14.2%.

Between February 2015 and January 2016, only 26% of Samsung smartphones in use were upgraded. This creates a huge opportunity for Samsung to persuade consumers it is time to upgrade to the new devices.

Of the 26% of Samsung devices that were upgraded, the greatest percentage (27.5%) chose the Galaxy S5, 26.2% the Galaxy S6: 9.4% the Galaxy Note 4: 7.9% the Galaxy Note 5: and 5% the Galaxy S6 edge. The rest of the upgrades were divided among 33 different models, demonstrating how wide the Samsung offering remains in the US market, despite all the attention being given to its flagship products.

Only 3.6% of current Galaxy S6 owners said they are planning to upgrade their smartphone in the next 12 months. This should not worry Samsung, however, as we have shown that a significant opportunity remains among owners of older phones, making them a much easier target for the Korean brand.

«

Suggests that the S6 and S6 Edge really weren’t a big hit, as the S4 has a higher share than both together.
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Dirty hands » The New Yorker

David Owen, with a fantastic piece about cheating in the world of professional bridge:

»When Brogeland made his first announcement, his evidence against Fisher and Schwartz consisted solely of what he believed to be a collection of suspicious hands; he still didn’t know how they might be exchanging information. A few days later, he created a new Web site, called Bridgecheaters.com, and posted three YouTube videos from the 2014 European Team Championships, which Fisher and Schwartz’s team had won. Each video had been shot from a camera mounted near the table. It showed all four players, as well as the table paraphernalia of modern tournament bridge: four bidding boxes (containing each player’s pre-printed bidding cards); a felt-covered bidding tray (on which the players place bidding cards before sliding it back under the screen); and a plastic duplicate board (a flat, rectangular box in which four pre-dealt hands have been delivered to the table). Brogeland asked for help from other players, and the search for evidence immediately became a collaborative international project.

«

As you read it, you realise that every human element in bridge – speaking, coughing, card movement, any physical movement – makes it feasible to create a code to cheat; the only way to prevent it would be to have people playing via screen, without words or gestures. Which would take away everything that might make it fun.
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Google finally extends right-to-be-forgotten rules to all search sites, including dot-com » Ars Technica UK

Kelly Fiveash:

»Google has responded to European Union data watchdogs by expanding its right-to-be-forgotten rules to apply to its search websites across the globe.

In 2014, search engines were ordered by Europe’s top court to scrub certain listings on their indexes. Google—which commands roughly 90 percent of the search market in the EU—claimed at the time that such measures amounted to censorship of the Internet.

However, the landmark European Court of Justice ruling in fact stated that search engines were required to remove links that are old, out of date or irrelevant, and—most significantly of all—not found to be in the public interest.

Indeed, the right-to-be-forgotten may seem evocative to privacy campaigners, but as the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office has previously stated, “there is no absolute right [under the ruling] to have information removed.”

«

Google’s blogpost on the topic says “We’re changing our approach as a result of specific discussions that we’ve had with EU data protection regulators in recent months”. No mention of the swingeing fines the regulators threatened.
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Bionic fingertip gives sense of touch to amputee » Reuters

Matthew Stock:

»A bionic fingertip has given an amputee the sensation of rough or smooth textures via electrodes implanted into nerves in his upper arm.

Scientists from EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) and SSSA (Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies, Italy) successfully allowed amputee Dennis Aabo Sørensen to receive this sophisticated tactile information in real-time.

The research, published in science journal eLife, says Sørensen is the first person in the world to recognize texture using a bionic fingertip connected to electrodes surgically implanted above his stump.

The nerves in Sørensen’s arm were wired to a machine with the fingertip attached to it. The machine then controlled the movement of the fingertip over pieces of plastic engraved with different textures, either rough or smooth. When the fingertip moved across the plastic, its sensors generated an electrical signal which was translated into a series of electrical spikes that mimic the language of the nervous system. This was then delivered to Sørensen’s nerves.

«

Odd – and a little sad – how little of the billions washing around Silicon Valley are being used to set up companies to do things like this.
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AlphaGo defeats Lee Sedol in first game of historic man vs machine match » Go Game Guru

You probably heard the news that Google’s DeepMind system AlphaGo beat the best player in the world. Here are the reactions of the pros (“9p” means “9-dan professional”, ie the highest level):

»Lee Changho 9p said,  “I’m so shocked by AlphaGo’s play!”

Meanwhile Cho Hanseung 9p remarked, “AlphaGo is much stronger than before, when it played against Fan Hui 2p! When Google said the odds were fifty-fifty, it seems they weren’t joking. I still can’t believe its performance even though I just saw it with my own eyes.”

In a post-game interview, Lee Sedol was visibly startled by AlphaGo’s strength. “I was so surprised. Actually, I never imagined that I would lose. It’s so shocking. Regarding the game, I got off to a bad start and AlphaGo played well right until the end. Even when I was behind, I still didn’t imagine that I’d lose. I didn’t think that it would be able to play such an excellent game. I heard that the DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis said that he respects me as a Go player, but I have great respect for both of them [referring to Demis Hassabis and Eric Schmidt] for making this amazing program. I also respect all the programmers who helped to make AlphaGo.”

«

The second game should finish around 0800 GMT on Thursday.
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Exclusive: 1736 documents reveal ISIS jihadists personal data » Zaman Al Wasl

»Zaman Al Wasl has exclusively obtained the personal data of 1736 ISIS fighters from over 40 countries, including their backgrounds, nationalities and hometown addresses.

The document that branded by ISIS as confidential is shedding the light on the inner circle of the de facto a state which has its own institutions and official documents as well data bank.

Two thirds of ISIS manpower are from Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt. 25% of ISIS fighters are Saudis, the data disclosed.

While Turkish fighters are taking the lead among ISIS foreign fighters, French fighters come next.

Syrians are just 1.7 % of the total number of fighters. The Iraqis make 1.2.

Expert told Zaman al-Wasl that Iraqis and Jordanians can make the backbone of ISIS but most of them are based in Mosul and ISIS-controlled areas in Ramadi.

The most notably that ISIS fighters do not know the real names of their fellow fighters since they used to have code names, or names de guerre, and for security issues they have been obliged to follow high ranks of secrecy.

The documents have been written and organized by the General Administration of Borders, and ISIS commission that tracks all Jihadists data.

The data document is including 23 fields, starting with the Jihadist’s first name, last name, code name, date of birth and nationality. The jihadist who cross the the Islamic State’s borders for the first time is ought to acknowledge the Borders Administration everything about himself, even what he wants to be in ISIS, a fighter or a suicide bomber.

«

Hacking is damned annoying thing.
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Maybe we could tone down the JavaScript » fuzzy notepad

Alex Munroe is kinda annoyed about pages which insist on a ton of Javascript:

»These aren’t cutting-edge interactive applications; they’re pages with text on them. We used to print those on paper, but as soon as we made the leap to computers, it became impossible to put words on a screen without executing several megabytes of custom junk?

I can almost hear the Hacker News comments now, about what a luddite I am for not thinking five paragraphs of static text need to be infested with a thousand lines of script. Well, let me say proactively: fuck all y’all. I think the Web is great, I think interactive dynamic stuff is great, and I think the progress we’ve made in the last decade is great. I also think it’s great that the Web is and always has been inherently customizable by users, and that I can use an extension that lets me decide ahead of time what an arbitrary site can run on my computer.

What’s less great is a team of highly-paid and highly-skilled people all using Chrome on a recent Mac Pro, developing in an office half a mile from almost every server they hit, then turning around and scoffing at people who don’t have exactly the same setup. Consider that any of the following might cause your JavaScript to not work:

• Someone is on a slow computer.
• Someone is on a slow connection.
• Someone is on a phone, i.e. a slow computer with a slow connection.
• Someone is stuck with an old browser on a computer they don’t control — at work, at school, in a library, etc.
• Someone is trying to write a small program that interacts with your site, which doesn’t have an API.

«

And he’s only just getting started.
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How the smartphone shapes millennials’ online activities » Global Web Index

Chase Buckle:

»From a marketing perspective, the term Millennial is increasingly becoming synonymous with mobile. And for good reason – almost 90% own a smartphone and these internet users clock up on average over 3 hours per day online via mobiles (rising to over 4 hours in Latin America and the Middle East). That means they’re spending up to 5x longer per day online on mobile than older age groups.

Understandably, this enthusiasm for smartphones is having a huge impact on their online activities. Our latest research shows that Millennials overwhelmingly cite smartphones as their most important device for getting online, and we’re seeing more-and-more staple internet activities take place on mobile.

«

What I notice about the above graphic is that in the past month, about 76% used a search engine on mobile – and (slightly) more used a social network. By contrast on desktop, it would probably be 100% and 100%. Plus these are the millennials; for those who are older, both uses will be less. That search engine use is Google’s problem on mobile: lots of people don’t do search on a daily basis on mobile.
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We need to save online journalism from ad blocking – and here’s how » Alphr

James O’Malley:

»Historically, journalism has had two major sources of income: Advertisers and readers. But now publishing is being squeezed from both ends. Thanks to the internet, and the explosion in ‘content’ (that’s what we call it now), people are very reticent to pay to read news, like they would have done for a print newspaper. And now thanks to ad-blockers, fewer people are looking at the adverts.

So what to do? How can a business model be found that will make journalism pay? Is there anything that can save this noble trade?

Bizarrely, the solution to this problem has already been invented. Six years ago. By one of the last people you’d expect to have an interest in paying people for their work.

Flattr was co-founded in 2010 by Peter Sunde, who is better known as one of the co-founders and former spokesperson for The Pirate Bay. Given that his website is responsible for distributing huge swathes of pirated content, you can’t help but wonder if Flattr was his attempt at atonement.

Flattr is a “microdonation” platform. The idea is that you sign up and allocate a fixed amount of cash to pay in every month – say £10 for the sake of argument – and then if you’re reading an article online that you like, you can click the “Flattr” button nestled amongst the existing social media sharing links. At the end of the month, your £10 is then divided up between the publishers of the articles that you’ve chosen to flattr. So if you flattr two articles, they earn £5 each. If you flattr ten, then each gets a pound. And so on.

The genius is that it solves the biggest problem with any micropayment system: Friction.

«

Neat idea. The problem now is just adoption by publishers and readers (and getting users of adblockers to see it in the first place).
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Errata, corrigenda and ai no corrida:

Start up: the open data economy, Samsung sued on software updates, Google v Isis, deaf developing, and more

Zano drone: hardly any were built

Zano’s much-promised drone turned out to be a flop, not a flyer. Photo: Torquing Industries.

Hell, you might as well sign up to receive each day’s Start Up post by email. You’ll need to click a confirmation link, so no spam.

A selection of 10 links for you. Use them wisely. I’m charlesarthur on Twitter. Observations and links welcome.

The economic impact of open data: what do we already know? » Medium

Jeni Tennison and Jack Hardinges of the Open Data Institute:

Open data fuels economic growth. Many believe in the theory and ask for the proof. A new report by Nesta and the ODI adds to the evidence of the impact of open data. The report’s analysis, undertaken by PwC, examines the effects of the Open Data Challenge Series (ODCS) and predicts the programme will result in a potential 10x return (£10 for every £1 invested over three years), generating up to £10.8m for the UK economy.

Seems amazing that ten years ago I was having to fight government departments tooth and nail to persuade them that releasing open data could have an economic benefit.
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‘Hateful Eight’ producer on piracy: “Aspirin ain’t curing the plague” » Hollywood Reporter

Richard Gladstein, producer of Hateful Eight:

the “Fair Use” provision and debate has also proven to be an extremely useful tool for those looking to distract from or ignore the real copyright infringement issue: piracy.

Such distractions include Google’s recent announcement that they will be offering legal support to “a handful of videos that we believe represent clear fair uses which have been subject to DMCA takedowns.” Fred von Lohmann, legal director of copyright at Google, noted in a recent post on Google’s Public Policy blog: “More than 400 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.” As the third most visited site on the web, YouTube occupies an important place in the discussion of online copyright infringement.

The criteria and definition of what constitutes fair use is a long-cherished and worthy debate. In fact, I agree with Mr. von Lohmann when he says, “Some of those uploads make use of existing content, like music or TV clips, in new and transformative ways that have social value beyond the original.”

However, it should be noted that the search behemoth won’t be defending every takedown notice, but said they will select a “small number of videos” they believe “will make a positive impact.” Would you care to guess how many videos they’ve selected? Turns out, it’s four. Jonathan Bailey at Plagiarism Today points out, “That’s 0.0000005% of all users.”

As Stephen Carlisle, Copyright Officer of Nova Southeastern University, describes it:

“The new policy is really nothing more than a publicity stunt, designed to encourage more people to upload to YouTube videos of dubious legality, while at the same time acting as an intimidation tactic to discourage the filing of valid takedown notices.”

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Being a deaf developer » Cruft

Hollie Kay:

I’ve been deaf since infancy. It is not profound; my hearing loss is described as moderate to severe and is mostly problematic at higher frequency ranges, the range at which most human speech happens. I rely on lip-reading and identifying vowel patterns to understand spoken language. Particular struggles are:

• recognising consonants, especially sibilants and unvoiced consonants (all consonants are high frequency sounds, and the unvoiced and sibilant consonants don’t activate the vocal chords)
• the beginning of sentences
• the end of sentences

Some deaf people successfully become programmers. It’s mostly thought-based, often solitary work, where all your output is written down. Specifications and bugs come to you (in an ideal world, at least) on paper and in ticketing systems instead of through other people’s noiseholes. Some areas aren’t quite so fabulous (I’m looking at you, interminable conference call meetings involving 15 people sitting in a circle around a gigantic table), but adjustments are always possible.

The stereotype of a programmer as a solitary eccentric who’s allergic to human company is unfair and inaccurate. As a group, we’re a very social bunch.

The Tim Berners-Lee quote about accessibility further down in the article is worth bearing in mind.
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Vladimir Putin’s internet adviser owns a torrent site » TorrentFreak

“Andy”:

Last week Putin signed a decree that officially enlisted [Herman] Klimenko and it didn’t take long for him to address the issue of Internet piracy. However, instead of tough talk, Klimenko criticized web-blocking and suggested that copyright holders should wait for a better economic situation before “terrorizing” on the issue of piracy.

“Consumption of copyright content increases with economic growth, and when the situation is very serious, I think people do not have to unnecessarily terrorize these issues,” Putin’s adviser said.

“Pushing hard now on this topic, I think, is not worth it. When the economy improves, you should return to this issue.”

While Klimenko’s comments at least in part sound reasonable, copyright holders would’ve been disappointed by his lack of support. What they will be even more disappointed over is the allegations now surfacing about Klimenko’s links to online piracy.

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How Zano raised millions on Kickstarter and left most backers with nothing » Medium

Mark Harris:

bumps in the road kept popping up. In late May, Crowther posted that some of Zano’s plastic parts had been delayed due to a tooling issue. The decision not pursue a pilot build was coming back to bite Torquing. Additions that Reedman made to his initial design, and the fact that some of the plastics supplied were heavier than expected, had ballooned Zano’s weight from 55g as a prototype to 70g in pre-production. With the original propellers, the Zano could now fly for only a couple of minutes between charges — a far cry from the 15 minutes that Reedman had promised.

A bigger battery could increase flight time, and Reedman told me he was trying to boost the battery size from 750 mAh (milliampere hours, a measurement of discharge capacity over time) to 1,000 or 1,100 mAh before he left Zano. A review of comparable batteries designed for drones (from makers and third-party replacements) finds even custom-fit modules would weigh at least 30g for 1,000 mAh, seemingly impractical without further design changes.

His solution at the time was to send back the original propellers for larger ones. However, says Reedman, “As far as [the Chinese supplier] was concerned, the propellers did work so therefore are not faulty and would not accept returns.” Torquing was left having paid for tens of thousands of propellers it could not use.

Harris is a terrific journalist (he’s done sterling work on Google’s self-driving car problems) who was commissioned by Kickstarter itself to dig into what happened to the biggest-ever Kickstarter funding and flop. Earlier, he doesn’t say the promo video was faked, but if anyone could explain how it was not faked, I’m all ears. (I was a Zano backer. Win some, lose some.)

The key lesson seems to be: cap the amount you’ll allow to be raised, especially for complex devices. But there are lots of other lessons too.
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Google: ISIS must be ‘contained to the dark web’ » Wired UK

Matt Burgess, reporting on a talk called “Waging a Digital Counterinsurgency”:

[Jared] Cohen, who heads up the Google department that is building products to help against oppression, said the “echo chamber” created by hordes of fake social media accounts “shouldn’t be neglected. He said: “The reality is what Isis is doing with technology ranges from communication to spamming, to all sorts of tactics that you’re probably more familiar with fraud and spam and various scams you’ve received in your inbox.”

“To me Isis is not a tech savvy organisation.”

One possible tactic, according Yasmin Green, also of Google Ideas, is to show targeted advertising to those who have been identified as looking at the propaganda.

Green said adverts may be able to “connect, distract, disrupt, and maybe sell a different product” to those with fighting for Isis in their eyes. The approach is also one that has been endorsed by the British government with internet minister Baroness Shields saying tech companies can do more to promote anti-extremist messages on their services.

If Cohen thinks Isis isn’t tech-savvy, then how has it got so much social media going on that a “digital counterinsurgency” is needed? And a solution consisting of targeted advertising? This is truly seeing nails everywhere because your toolbox only contains a hammer. In a few years, will Cohen be suggesting self-driving tanks to fight the war?
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Samsung sued by consumer watchdog for failing to update its phones » AndroidAuthority

Bogdan Petrovan:

Consumentenbond, an influential non-profit organization looking after the interests of consumers in the Netherlands, is taking Samsung to court over its failure to provide [software] updates in a timely manner.

In a press release (PDF, English language), the group says it reached out to Samsung on December 2, but in the absence of a proper response, it “issued injunctive relief proceedings against” the Korean giant.

Consumentenbond considers Samsung is guilty of unfair trade practices, as consumers are not informed upon purchase how long they will receive software updates. The group demands “clear and unambiguous information” on updates and security patches, and wants Samsung to actually release updates for at least two years from the date of purchase.

Consumentenbond says 82% of the Samsung phones it checked were not updated within two years of their introduction. All manufacturers should be held to this high standard, according to the consumer watchdog, which noted that Samsung is the “undisputed leader” of the Dutch phone market.

This last demand seems rather hard to put in practice. Consumentenbond wants Samsung to support every device it sells for two years, regardless of how old it is. In practice, that would force Samsung to ensure updates for four years or even more.

And this would be bad because..? Definitely a lawsuit to watch, especially if other consumer organisations take up the same cause around Europe.
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HTC denies plans to spin off VR business unit » Digitimes

Wei-Yan Lin and Steve Shen:

HTC has denied a media report indicating that it plans to spin off its virtual reality (VR) business unit to form an independent company in a bid to boost its VR business. The company said it will continue to dedicate resources to the development of VR products to create maximum value for its shareholders.

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When Will We See A New Apple Watch? » TechCrunch

Matthew Panzarino:

Several things that I’ve heard (from several sources) indicate to me that we won’t see a major new hardware model of the Apple Watch in March. Design partnerships, accessories, that kind of thing maybe but not a “Watch 2.0” with a bunch of new hardware features. I could be wrong, of course, but I’ve heard enough to put it out there.

I’ve now heard a bit more that suggests that Apple might ship a minor revision of the Apple Watch that includes a FaceTime camera and not much else — but still that it would not be a full “Watch 2.0” with casing changes and major improvements. Still no word on timing but that could explain the reports of a camera have been showing up. Like I said, tea leaves!

I spoke to Creative Strategies analyst Ben Bajarin, who says that supply chain checks are showing no movement that would indicate a new Watch model in production as of yet.

Which makes it sound like June (WWDC) at the earliest, September more likely. That would give time for the technology to improve enough to make it an obvious replacement for those who want an upgrade, and a more attractive product for those who wavered.
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‘No layoffs … this week’: Marissa Mayer’s twisted joke kills morale » New York Post

James Covert and Claire Atkinson:

“She said there are going to be no layoffs ‘this week,’ and many of the employees laughed at her,” said one insider, who, fearing retribution, asked not to be named.

“This is the reason employee morale is so low,” the insider added, noting that most workers took the scary remark as twisted confirmation that Yahoo!’s embattled chief executive is sharpening the ax.

Mayer, who returned to her duties at the struggling Internet pioneer just a few weeks after giving birth to twins on Dec. 10, made the less-than-reassuring comment in response to a question at an internal “Friday FYI” meeting on Jan. 8, sources said.

Word of the gaffe has been “spreading like wildfire” through Silicon Valley, another insider said, calling it the latest example of a chronically tone-deaf CEO in a crisis.

Nothing is going right for Mayer with Yahoo. Nothing at all, anywhere. But then, when did it last go right for Yahoo in anything? 2005?
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Errata, corrigenda and ai no corrida:

Start up: who’ll exit PCs next?, Gwen Stefani v iCloud, Chrome vuln pwns Android, and more


A castle in Gibraltar lit up with the French colours in solidarity following the killings on Friday night. Photo by ollygringo on Flickr.

A selection of 10 links for you. Use them wisely. I’m charlesarthur on Twitter. Observations and links welcome.

“It’s War”: being a cop in post-Charlie Hebdo France » Matter on Medium

Mac McClelland lives with a French policier; the events of January 2015 changed things hugely:

These gendarmes had caught something early on in the TV footage that told them a very, very terrible event had transpired. The riot branch of the national police was visible in the background of the newscast. Usually, they carried only nine-millimeter handguns. Now they all had M14s.

Eight of Theo’s colleagues watched the cop’s killing on YouTube together. Theo’s dark, serious eyebrows raised in astonishment, then knitted together as he immediately went into analytical mode.

Their rifles aren’t fully automatic, he thought. They’re firing one shot at a time. That’s weird. They look trained, but not quite professional. The news was reporting that the suspects looked like professionals. No, Theo thought. They’re not checking their perimeter. Not the roofs.

His training permitted him to watch the violence more coldly than your average guy. But as his normally scheduled, 24-hour shift wore on, his professional distance vanished. “Gros fils de pute de merde,” he texted another gendarme he knew, a guy from a mobile intervention platoon.

There’s a sea change going on in how the police think of their job in modern France, McClelland suggests. (If you’ve seen the most recent series of the French policier series Engrenages – “Spiral” in the UK – you have a sense of it.)
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What ISIS really wants » The Atlantic

Graeme Wood:

Our ignorance of the Islamic State is in some ways understandable: It is a hermit kingdom; few have gone there and returned. Baghdadi has spoken on camera only once. But his address, and the Islamic State’s countless other propaganda videos and encyclicals, are online, and the caliphate’s supporters have toiled mightily to make their project knowable. We can gather that their state rejects peace as a matter of principle; that it hungers for genocide; that its religious views make it constitutionally incapable of certain types of change, even if that change might ensure its survival; and that it considers itself a harbinger of—and headline player in—the imminent end of the world.

This is not a short read. But you will come away from it much, much better informed.
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The dream life of driverless cars » The New York Times

Geoff Manaugh:

All of the glares, reflections and misunderstood signs that [Illah] Nourbakhsh [professor of robotics at Carnegie Mellon University] warned about are exactly what [London design studio] ScanLAB now seeks to capture. Their goal, [32-year-old Matthew] Shaw said, is to explore ‘‘the peripheral vision of driverless vehicles,’’ or what he calls ‘‘the sideline stuff,’’ the overlooked edges of the city that autonomous cars and their unblinking scanners will ‘‘perpetually, accidentally see.’’ By deliberately disabling certain aspects of their scanner’s sensors, ScanLAB discovered that they could tweak the equipment into revealing its overlooked artistic potential. While a self- driving car would normally use corrective algorithms to account for things like long periods stuck in traffic, [William] Trossell and Shaw instead let those flaws accumulate. Moments of inadvertent information density become part of the resulting aesthetic.

The London that their work reveals is a landscape of aging monuments and ornate buildings, but also one haunted by duplications and digital ghosts. The city’s double- decker buses, scanned over and over again, become time- stretched into featureless mega- structures blocking whole streets at a time. Other buildings seem to repeat and stutter, a riot of Houses of Parliament jostling shoulder to shoulder with themselves in the distance. Workers setting out for a lunchtime stroll become spectral silhouettes popping up as aberrations on the edge of the image. Glass towers unravel into the sky like smoke. Trossell calls these ‘‘mad machine hallucinations,’’ as if he and Shaw had woken up some sort of Frankenstein’s monster asleep inside the automotive industry’s most advanced imaging technology.

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Gwen Stefani split shows cross-device sharing of naughty photos is new bane of the digital age » SiliconValley.com

Cross-device text and photo streaming was the undoing of Stefani’s cheatin’ heartthrob, when naked pictures of the nanny began popping up on the family iPad, US magazine uncovered this week. Like a lot of families, they evidently linked their mobile devices together – so a text or photo sent to one showed up on the others.

A lot of non-boldface names – many of them right here in switched-on Silicon Valley – have learned the same lesson the hard way. Apple customers frequently make their iCloud photo stream the default screen saver for Apple TV, transforming their selfies into 60in widescreen Ken Burns dissolves.

That’s what happened to Alex (who responded to a Facebook request for cringeworthy cases of cross-device photo streaming, but declined to give his last name). He took revealing pictures intended for his “certain someone,” then walked into the living room he shared with new roommates to find himself streaming in all his gaudy glory on the TV they were watching. “Let’s just say it made for some awkward dinner hours for a while,” he says.

“The future of TV is apps where you’ve definitely logged out first.” (Also, the Stefani case is just excruciating.)
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BlackBerry Priv review: Android fixes the OS, but the hardware can’t compete » Ars Technica UK

Ron Amadeo is merciless:

With Google, Motorola, Xiaomi, and OnePlus pumping out high-end devices in the £200-350 range, pricing your Android phone at £560 is a boastful statement that you’ve made a kick-ass, no compromise device. The BlackBerry Priv can’t back up that kind of bragging, though, and that’s why it’s a failure. Other than the subpar keyboard and camera, everything on the Priv is merely passable. It’s a “C” student, but the price demands we grade on a curve that flunks the Priv.

Even at a competitive price of something like £350-£450, we’d be hard pressed to buy a phone with a hardware keyboard when the hardware keyboard is bad. The keys are small and flat, the keyboard is cramped, and hardware keyboard autocorrect is shoehorned into an operating system layout where it clearly isn’t welcome. Closing the Priv and using the more spacious software keyboard wasn’t just faster, it was a relief. That’s the real deal-breaker for the Priv—the hardware keyboard needed to be spectacular, and it isn’t.

His critique of the keyboard in particular is painstaking and murderous.
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Five things I think journalism students need to know about technology » Medium

Martin Belam gave a talk to City University journalism students (lucky sods) and made five points. This is one of the subtler ones:

Treat every bit of content you publish to Facebook like an A/B test.
You post it to your page. If nobody interacts with it — by sharing or liking or commenting on it — it’s already failed. If the first few people to see it engage with it, then you have a chance that Facebook will show your content to more people.

So how can your piece pass that first test?

Ask yourself who is going to share that article, and why are they going to share it? If you can’t answer that question about your own story, you’ve done it wrong.

All worth considering (including the GIF one – which isn’t about how to pronounce it).
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Two top PC vendors predicted to exit the market soon » Investors.com

Patrick Seitz:

As PC sales have shrunk in recent years, the top four vendors have consolidated market share. They are Lenovo, HP Inc, Dell and Apple, [IDC PC analyst Tom] Mainelli said. So the two companies likely to bow out of the PC market probably will be in the lower half of the top 10, he said.

The bottom six are Acer, Asus, Toshiba, Samsung, Tongfang and Fujitsu, Mainelli said.

“The most likely scenario is that two will simply leave the market,” Mainelli said. “I don’t expect there to be many acquisitions as the (top four) don’t gain much from buying anybody in the bottom half of the list. There will likely be much discussion about possible mergers among the rest, but I’m not sure that this course of action will play out.”

Tongfang?
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Acer, Asustek will not die in global PC market, says Acer founder » Digitimes

Aaron Lee and Joseph Tsai:

In response to IDC forecasts that two of the top-10 international PC vendors will withdraw from the global PC market over the next two years due to unbearable operating losses and the two are possibly Acer, Asustek Computer, Toshiba, Samsung Electronics, Tsinghua Tongfang, or Fujitsu, Acer founder Stan Shih said that Acer and Asustek will not die due to lower overheads compared to other vendors.

Acer achieved net profits of NT$191m (US$5.84m) and EPS of NT$0.06 for the third quarter and the results were a lot higher than those of the previous quarter mainly due to an exchange income of NT$799m.

Shih noted that Acer’s third-quarter profits were seriously impacted by competitors’ buy-two-get-one-free promotions and Acer also chose to focus on digesting inventory in the quarter, knowing it would gain profits from exchange rates.

I’d not be surprised if Toshiba and Fujitsu pulled out; they’re losing money. Samsung is a long way from profitable scale too, but has the advantage of making key components such as the displays.

Acer’s PC business isn’t looking healthy, though.
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Inquiring minds want to know… » Mountain View Police Department


This afternoon [12 November] a Mountain View Police Department traffic officer noticed traffic backing up behind a slow moving car traveling in the eastbound #3 lane on El Camino Real, near Rengstorff Ave. The car was traveling at 24 mph in a 35 mph zone. As the officer approached the slow moving car he realized it was a Google Autonomous Vehicle. The officer stopped the car and made contact with the operators to learn more about how the car was choosing speeds along certain roadways and to educate the operators about impeding traffic per 22400(a) of the California Vehicle Code. The Google self-driving cars operate under the Neighborhood Electric Vehicle Definition per 385.5 of the California Vehicle Code and can only be operated on roadways with speed limits at or under 35 mph. In this case, it was lawful for the car to be traveling on the street as El Camino Real is rated at 35 mph.

Just wanted to check the car wasn’t drunk, I guess.
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Single Chrome exploit can compromise any Android smartphone » AndroidAuthority

John Dye:

A researcher at [security company] Quihoo 360 recently discovered an exploit in Chrome that can probably demolish even the newest, most up-to-date Android devices if the user visits an infected site.

The vulnerability was exposed at PacSec’s MobilePwn2Own event. What makes the exploit particularly unsettling is that it’s just one exploit, not an elaborate chain of exploits that interlink to reach an eventual compromise. Although the showcase did not go into the precise details regarding how the exploit works, it was revealed that it takes advantage of a vulnerability in JavaScript v8.

The researcher who discovered the exploit is Guang Gong, and PacSec will be rewarding Guang for uncovering and releasing the exploit by flying him to the CanSecWest security conference for a ski trip in March of 2016. In addition to this, Google will also likely pay a bounty for the bug’s discovery, as a Google security representative at the event took Guang’s work back for consideration.

Chrome will likely get fixed quickly, but is the vulnerability more widespread? Also, where are the stats about how those monthly security updates for Android going? Anyone know?
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