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Vertu, Phone-Maker To the Rich, Says It's Broke

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A British-based luxury phone maker which made its name selling $50,000 smartphones decked out in alligator leather and titanium and fitted with sapphire screens, has applied to the courts to be placed in administration after running of out money to pay staff and suppliers, (paywalled) reports British outlet The Times. In a witness statement filed in the High Court in London yesterday, the report adds, the company's last remaining director Jean-Charles Charki, said that Vertu was insolvent and unable to meet its June 30 payroll obligations of about 500,000 euros. From an earlier report: According to a juicy new report in the Telegraph, employees are worried about the future of the company after noticing that production had been running at reduced capacity. Employees are apparently worried about their unpaid wages, as well as pension contributions taken out of their paychecks without being added into the company's retirement fund. Sources inside the company also told the Telegraph that Vertu has unpaid debts with suppliers such as Qualcomm and Microsoft, and bills from waste management, pest control, and other property services.

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You're Thinking About the Dictionary All Wrong, Lexicographers Say

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An anonymous reader shares a report on The Outline: It seems like ever since "bootylicious" was added to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) in 2004, dictionaries have been trying to play catch up to ever-evolving languages of slang, especially when it comes to words originating with African Americans and other communities of color. User-generated definitions found on websites like Urban Dictionary and Genius are also giving them some competition. But in fact, lexicographers have always intended the dictionary to be more of an archive than an authority. The purpose of the dictionary has always been to record how language is being used, but the internet has allowed publishers and lexicographers to communicate that purpose differently, explained Kory Stamper, lexicographer and author of Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries, to The Outline. "I think people assume that because dictionaries are dusty books that the language is this dusty book or that language is only what you find in the dictionary," Stamper said. "And to be able to say, 'No, language is always on the move and here's how it's moving,' really mirrors the way that we can interact with people online." Thanks to the internet, it's now easier for lexicographers to access more written materials and take note of the ways people are using and producing language. And as a result, dictionaries are updated more frequently and more robustly than they were in the days of print-only source material. "Woke" was just one of 1200 new additions to the OED this quarter alone. But even with all the technology afforded to them, lexicographers still walk a fine line between including words that are well-known enough without being too obscure. "We joke around that when we add new words we want 50 percent of the people who see that new word to say, 'Oh my gosh that's not in the dictionary yet?'" said Stamper, who writes for Merriam-Webster. "And then we want the other half of people to go, 'I don't even know what this word is. Why are you adding it to the dictionary?'"

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The Age of Distributed Truth

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Eugene Wei, head of video at Oculus (Formerly with Flipboard, Hulu, and Amazon) writes about how information gets distributed now, and things that were commonly known in specific circles are becoming more widely known. From his article: The internet gave everyone a megaphone, and these days that can feel like that Chinese proverb, you know the one. Perhaps the truth was better kept in the hands of a limited set of responsible stewards, but that age of the expert has passed, and that system had its own issues. As every Death Star reminds us each time they're blown up, concentrating power in a small area has its own unique vulnerability. We live in the age of distributed truth, and it's an environment in which fake news can spread like mold when in viral form. But the same applies to the truth, and if there's one lesson on how to do your part in an age of distributed truth, it's to speak the truth and to support those who do. It may be exhausting work -- is it really necessary to point out the emperor is buck naked? -- but it's the best we can do for now. In this age, the silent majority is no majority at all.

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[$] Namespaced file capabilities

LWN Headlines -

The kernel's file capabilities mechanism is a bit of an awkward fit with user namespaces, in that all namespaces have the same view of the capabilities associated with a given executable file. There is a patch set under consideration that adds awareness of user namespaces to file capabilities, but it has brought forth some disagreement on how such a mechanism should work. The question is, in brief: how should a set of file capabilities be picked for any given user namespace?

AMD Launches Ryzen PRO CPUs: Enhanced Security, Longer Warranty, Better Quality

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Reader harrisonweber shares a report: This morning AMD introduced their Ryzen PRO processors for business and commercial desktop PCs. The new lineup of CPUs includes the Ryzen 3 PRO, Ryzen 5 PRO and Ryzen 7 PRO families with four, six, or eight cores running at various frequencies. A superset to the standard Ryzen chips, the PRO chips have the same feature set as other Ryzen devices, but also offer enhanced security, 24 months availability, a longer warranty and promise to feature better chip quality. The AMD Ryzen PRO lineup of processors consists of six SKUs that belong to the Ryzen 7, Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 3 families targeting different market segments and offering different levels of performance. As one would expect, the Ryzen 7 PRO models are aimed at workstation applications and thus have all eight cores with simultaneous multithreading enabled, the Ryzen 5 PROmodels are designed for advanced mainstream desktops and therefore have four or six cores with SMT, whereas the Ryzen 3 PRO models are aimed at office workloads that work well on quad-core CPUs without SMT. The specifications of the Ryzen 7 PRO and the Ryzen 5 PRO resemble those of regular Ryzen processors. Meanwhile, the Ryzen 3 PRO are the first chips from the Ryzen 3 lineup and thus give us a general idea what to expect from such products: four cores without SMT operating at 3.1-3.5 GHz base frequency along with 2+8 MB of cache.

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Sony Will Start Pressing Vinyl Records After 28-Year Hiatus

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Sony said this week it will begin pressing vinyl records again, ending an almost three-decade hiatus. A dramatic increase in demand for vinyl music in recent years prompted the move, the company said. From a report: After a 28-year hiatus, Sony announced this week that it plans to open a new facility in Japan dedicated to pressing vinyl records. It's a back-to-the-future announcement at a time when the true digital music revolution -- downloaded and streaming via always-on Internet connectivity -- has quickly grown to dominate listening habits. According to Japan's recording industry association, the country produced nearly 200 million records per year in the mid-1970s. That's unlikely to return. But while many of us have been content to wirelessly download our music, a surprising number of people are going to the store -- or Amazon.com, let's be honest -- and purchasing a vinyl record, sleeve and all.

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France Drops Windows 10 Privacy Case After Microsoft Changes Telemetry Settings

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Reader Mark Wilson writes: There have been lots of complaints about invasion of privacy since the release of Windows 10. Microsoft's telemetry lead to several lawsuits, including one from France's National Data Protection Commission which said Windows 10 was collecting 'excessive personal data' about users. But now the Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libert's has decided to drop its case against Microsoft. The commission is happy that sufficient steps have been taken to reduce the amount of data that is collected and users are now informed about data collection.

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India Presses Microsoft For Windows Discount in Wake of Cyber Attacks

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India is pressing Microsoft to offer a sharply discounted one-time deal to the more than 50 million Windows users in the country so that they can upgrade to the latest Windows 10 operating system in the wake of ransomware attacks, Reuters reported Friday. From the article: Microsoft officials in India have "in principle agreed" to the request, Gulshan Rai, India's cyber security coordinator, told Reuters over the phone on Friday. If Microsoft agreed to such a discount, it could open up the global software giant to similar requests from around the world. Rai said the government was in talks with Microsoft management in India. It is not immediately clear whether any other countries were seeking similar deals.

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Sony Suspends Thousands Of PlayStation Network Accounts in UK, Allegedly Because Of Issue With PayPal

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An anonymous reader writes: PlayStation Network (PSN) users in the UK who've paid via PayPal have had their accounts suspended. 'Thousands' of users this week received an automatic refund for purchases they made with the US money transfer service. According to game blog Kotaku, since Sony hasn't received money from those users, their accounts have been suspended. Neither Sony nor Paypal have addressed the issue yet.

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Despite Hacking Charges, US Tech Industry Fought To Keep Ties To Russia Spy Service

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The U.S. tech sector pushed the government to keep ties with Russia's spy agency, despite reports that Moscow meddled in the U.S. presidential election, Reuters reported Friday. The sanctions imposed on Russia by the Obama administration last December outlawed U.S. companies from having relationships with Russia's spy agency, the Federal Security Service (FSB), which presented a dilemma to Western tech companies. Reuters says, the FSB also acts as a regulator that approves the importing of technology to Russia that contains encryption, which is used in products such as cellphones and laptops. Joel Schectman, Dustin Volz and Jack Stubbs, reporting for Reuters: Worried about the sales impact, business industry groups, including the U.S.-Russia Business Council and the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia, contacted U.S. officials at the American embassy in Moscow and the Treasury, State and Commerce departments, according to five people with direct knowledge of the lobbying effort. The campaign, which began in January and proved successful in a matter of weeks, has not been previously reported. [...] The sanctions would have meant the Russian market was "dead for U.S. electronics" said Alexis Rodzianko, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia, who argued against the new restrictions. "Every second Russian has an iPhone, iPad, so they would all switch to Samsungs," he said. [...] The lobbyists argued the sanction could have stopped the sale of cars, medical devices and heavy equipment, all of which also often contain encrypted software, according to a person involved in the lobbying effort. The goal of the sanctions was to sever U.S. business dealings with the FSB -- not end American technology exports to Russia entirely, the industry groups argued. "The sanction was against a government agency that has many functions, only one of them being hacking the U.S. elections," said Rodzianko.

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Raspberry Pi Wins UK's Top Engineering Award

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An anonymous reader shares a BBC report: The team behind the device was awarded the Royal Academy of Engineering's MacRobert Prize at a ceremony in London last night. The tiny computer launched in 2012. Its designers hoped to introduce children to coding and had modest ambitions. They beat two other finalists, cyber-security company Darktrace and radiotherapy pioneers Vision RT, to win the prize. Previous winners of the innovation award, which has been run since 1969, include the creators of the CT (computerised tomography) scanner; the designers of the Severn Bridge; and the team at Microsoft in Cambridge that developed the Kinect motion sensor.

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Kubernetes 1.7 released

LWN Headlines -

Version 1.7 of the Kubernetes orchestration system is out. "At-a-glance, security enhancements in this release include encrypted secrets, network policy for pod-to-pod communication, node authorizer to limit kubelet access and client / server TLS certificate rotation. For those of you running scale-out databases on Kubernetes, this release has a major feature that adds automated updates to StatefulSets and enhances updates for DaemonSets. We are also announcing alpha support for local storage and a burst mode for scaling StatefulSets faster."

Iranian City Soars To Record 129F Degrees: Near Hottest On Earth in Modern Measurements

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A city in southwest Iran posted the country's hottest temperature ever recorded Thursday afternoon, and may have tied the world record for the most extreme high temperature. From a report on The Washington Post: Etienne Kapikian, a forecaster at French meteorological agency MeteoFrance, posted to Twitter that the city of Ahvaz soared to "53.7C" (128.7 degrees Fahrenheit). Kapikian said the temperature is a "new absolute national record of reliable Iranian heat" (alternative, non-paywalled source) and that it was the hottest temperature ever recorded in June over mainland Asia. Iran's previous hottest temperature was 127.4. Weather Underground's website indicates the temperature in Ahvaz climbed even higher, hitting 129.2 degrees at both 4:51 and 5 p.m. local time. If that 129.2 degrees reading is accurate, it would arguably tie the hottest temperature ever measured on Earth in modern times.

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Security updates for Friday

LWN Headlines -

Security updates have been issued by CentOS (freeradius, kernel, and mercurial), Debian (libarchive and mercurial), Fedora (chromium-native_client, systemd, and tomcat), Mageia (drupal, golang, libmwaw, libsndfile, rxvt-unicode, and tomcat), Oracle (kernel), Slackware (bind, httpd, kernel, and libgcrypt), SUSE (bind, clamav, kernel, and openvpn-openssl1), and Ubuntu (bind9, eglibc, and linux-hwe).

Wall Street Journal To Cut Back Print Outside the US

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The Wall Street Journal plans to discontinue production of print edition outside the United States in what is the latest testament that popularity of print is waning and it is no longer as lucrative for news outlets to maintain print editions of their journalism. From a Financial Times report: The print edition of the business and finance newspaper, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, will no longer be available in Europe (paywalled; alternative source), according to two people briefed on the plans. Free copies and unprofitable hotel "amenity deals," where hotels buy bulk copies at a discount, are also being scrapped. However, Dow Jones, the News Corp division that owns the Journal, is debating whether to continue mailing copies to subscribers who still want a physical paper. It is pursuing a similar approach in Asia but is in talks with a partner about a print joint venture that would continue distribution in one big market there, according to the people with knowledge of the discussions. In Australia some Wall Street Journal pages are available as an insert in The Australian, another Murdoch-owned paper.

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Tom Wheeler Defends Title II Rules, Accuses Pai of Helping Monopolists

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simkel shares a report from Ars Technica: Former Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler spoke out against the FCC's proposed repeal of net neutrality rules this week, saying the repeal will help monopoly broadband providers abuse their dominant position. There's "a monopoly provider for three-quarters of the homes in America, and no choice," Wheeler said in a forum (video) in Arlington, Virginia Monday hosted by US Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.). "When you've only got one provider, who makes the rules? The provider makes the rules." Wheeler was referring to FCC data that shows most Americans live in areas with either one provider of high-speed broadband (at least 25Mbps downstream and 3Mbps upstream) or none at all. With the FCC's new Republican leadership seeking to overturn net neutrality rules, "the question becomes, will giant companies be able to exploit their monopoly position?" Wheeler said. "Who is going to stand up for consumers? Who is going to stand up for innovation? And who is going to stand up for the most important network for determining our future in the 21st century?"

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