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Verizon Executive Says Company Unsure About Yahoo Deal

Slashdot -

A senior executive of Verizon said on Thursday the company was unsure about its planned acquisition of Yahoo's internet business. From a report on Reuters: "I can't sit here today and say with confidence one way or another because we still don't know," Marni Walden, president of product innovation and new businesses, said at the Citi 2017 Internet, Media & Telecommunications Conference in Las Vegas.To walk away, Verizon likely will have to show the overall value of Yahoo has declined as a result of the two hacking disclosures. "I have to have certain facts in order to be able to make a decision," she told WSJ. "There's a lot of stuff we don't know."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Minecraft Has Now Sold Over 25 Million Copies on PC and Mac

Slashdot -

An anonymous reader shares a Neowin article: Minecraft is a 3D video game created by Markus Persson, and published on PC by Mojang back in 2011. Ever since its release, it's been very popular and has become a global phenomenon. Received positively by reviewers and consumers alike, it has been a commercial success. In fact, its continuing popularity prompted Microsoft to buy Mojang for $2.5 billion in 2014. It so happens that the game has sold over 25 million copies on PC and Mac to-date. According to the latest statistics publicly available on Mojang's website, Minecraft has sold 25,072,545 copies on PC and Mac.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Rumors of Cmd's Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

Slashdot -

Senior Program Manager at Microsoft has responded to speculations that Command Prompt is going away. He writes: The Cmd shell remains an essential part of Windows, and is used daily by millions of businesses, developers, and IT Pro's around the world. In fact: 1. Much of the automated system that builds and tests Windows itself is a collection of many Cmd scripts that have been created over many years, without which we couldn't build Windows itself! 2. Cmd is one of the most frequently run executables on Windows with a similar number of daily launches as File Explorer, Edge and Internet Explorer! 3. Many of our customers and partners are totally dependent on Cmd, and all its quirks, for their companies" existence! In short: Cmd is an absolutely vital feature of Windows and, until there's almost nobody running Cmd scripts or tools, Cmd will remain within Windows.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Apple Removes NYTimes App in China, Shows How Far It Is Willing To Go To Please Local Authority

Slashdot -

Apple has removed the New York Times app from its store in China after a government request, in an example of how far the company will go to please the authorities in its third-largest market. From a report: China operates what is thought to be the largest internet censorship regime in the world, blocking thousands of foreign websites viewed as a threat by the ruling Communist party. Google, Twitter, Facebook Youtube and Instagram are all inaccessible. Apple removed the English and Chinese-language versions of the New York Times app on 23 December, although it was not immediately clear why. "We have been informed that the app is in violation of local regulations," said Carolyn Wu, an Apple spokeswoman. "As a result the app must be taken down off the China app store. When this situation changes the app store will once again offer the New York Times app for download in China."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Snapchat Cited False User Numbers in Order To Boost IPO, Alleges Lawsuit by Ex-worker

Slashdot -

A lawsuit filed against Snap Inc. by a former employee claims the company reported false growth numbers to investors in an effort to inflate its valuation. An anonymous reader shares a report: The plaintiff, Anothony Pompliano, joined the company (then known as Snapchat) as a growth lead in September of last year from Facebook. Pompliano claims the company's "institutional pandemic" of misrepresentation of its user numbers was fueled by its pursuit of a multi-billion dollar initial public offering (IPO) -- a number of prior reports have claimed the company could go public as soon as March. Snap's visual messaging app Snapchat is known for its popularity with younger millennials (aged 25 and under). Despite remaining tight-lipped about its official statistics, leaked reports put its daily active user base at 150 million (higher than that of fellow social platform Twitter). Additionally, its daily video views count hit an impressive 10 billion in April 2016. Numbers like these have had the industry buzzing over its expected IPO, with analysts claiming the company could be valued as high as $25 billion.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Apple App Store Developers Earned $20 Billion in 2016, Up 40 Percent Year Over Year

Slashdot -

Apple said Thursday its App Store generated $20 billion for developers in 2016, a 40 percent increase from 2015, helped by the popularity of games such as Pokemon Go and Super Mario Run and increased revenue from subscriptions. From a report on CNBC: "2016 was an amazingly great year for the App Store," Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, told CNBC. "We continue to advance what is available for developers to create. And our catalog of apps grew 20 percent to 2.2 million." Schiller said the biggest drivers for the App Store included games such as "Pokemon Go," which was the most downloaded app in 2016; "Super Mario," which was the most downloaded app on Christmas and New Year's days; and subscription-based apps, such as Netflix, Hulu and Time Warner's HBO Go. The tech giant said its biggest day of sales on the App Store was on Jan. 1, 2017, when customers spent a record $240 million. The top grossing markets included the U.S, U.K., Japan and China, which saw 90 percent year-over-year growth.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Bitcoin Is Crashing

Slashdot -

An anonymous reader writes: Bitcoin is getting smashed. The cryptocurrency was down 18% to about $892 per coin as of 8:17 a.m. ET on Thursday. It is the biggest drop in two years. Earlier this week, on its first trading day of the new year, Bitcoin crossed above the $1,000 mark for the first time since 2013, but it has now tumbled below that level.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Mediacurrent: Migration with Custom Values in Drupal 8

Drupal Planet -

Custom Preprocessing

In Drupal 7 there were numerous ways to preprocess data prior to migrating values. This was especially useful when inconsistencies in the data source needed to be addressed. One example I have dealt with in the past was migrating email addresses from an old system that didn’t check for properly formatted emails on its user fields. These errors would produce faulty data in the new Drupal site. I preprocessed the field data for the most common mistakes which reduced the amount of erroneous addresses brought over.

New Analysis Shows Lamar Smith's Accusations On Climate Data Are Wrong

Slashdot -

Layzej writes from a report via Ars Technica: In 2015, NOAA released version 4 of their marine temperature dataset called ERSST. The new dataset accounted for a known cooling bias introduced when ocean temperature measurements transitioned from being taken in ship engine intake valves to buoy-based measurements. The warming of the last couple decades increased ever so slightly in NOAA's new analysis. This was a red flag for U.S. House Science Committee Chair Lamar Smith (R-TX), who rejects the conclusions of climate science -- like the fact that the Earth's climate is warming. Suddenly he wanted to see the researchers' e-mails and echoed the accusations of contrarian blogs about scientists' supposedly nefarious adjustments to sea surface temperature measurements. Rather than invoking scientific conspiracies, issues like this should be settled by analyzing the data. A new study, led by University of California Berkeley's Zeke Hausfather, does just that -- and Rep. Smith won't like these results, either. To test the NOAA dataset, Zeke's team created instrumentally homogeneous temperature records from sensors available only over the last couple decades. As it happens, the Argo float data, the buoy data, and the satellite data each hew closer to the updated dataset that NOAA used. The older version (3b) gives a global average that is too cool in recent years, growing to an offset of about 0.06 degrees Celsius. The researchers repeat this same analysis for two more major sea surface datasets that are used by the UK Met Office and the Japanese Meteorological Agency for their global temperature records. Both of those datasets also drift cooler than the comparison data, but less so than NOAA's old dataset.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

A Font of Misery

The Daily WTF -

After his chilling encounter in the company’s IT Cave, new hire George spent some time getting his development workstation set up. Sadly, his earlier hope that the PC in his office was a short-term placeholder until something better comes in was dashed to pieces. This PC was a small-form-factor budget system, relying on an old dual-core processor, 2 GB RAM, a 5400 RPM “green” disk drive, and integrated graphics with a single output port, to which was connected an aging 17" LCD monitor with a failing backlight.

George got to work installing software packages from a network drive, presumably clicking itself to death in the dark IT office. With a PC nearly ten years behind the curve, George had plenty of time, several days, in fact, to drink coffee while exploring the building. His unease from the encounter with the IT guy eventually faded as he met other employees who seemed as normal as he, discovering conference rooms with normal-looking Scrum boards, and offices and cubicles that would not appear out-of-place in any modern, successful software company. A friendly member of the Marketing Department even gave him some swag: logo’d pens and stress balls and notepads. Perhaps the unusual IT guy and his dark, precarious office was just an anomaly to an otherwise excellent organization.

A week into his new job, George finally had his system set up enough to look around at the software products he’d be working on. During his interview, he’d been told everything was “superbly” documented.

A coworker emailed him links to their developer documentation which was hosted on an internal server somewhere. George followed the link, and his web browser sat on a loading page for way too long. As he waited, and waited, and waited for the page to load, he almost thought he could hear the clicking and clunking of failing disk drives from whichever ancient pile of failing hardware served as the company’s documentation server, but eventually a SharePoint page presented itself on his screen.

The “Developer Documentation” was unexpectedly short. In fact, George read through it faster than it took to load, feeling a sense of dread once he realized what it actually was: three pages of buzzword-laden marketing material! He read about how “superb” the application is and how it has helped millions of companies “leverage new synergies for key wins”. Nowhere could he find a simple, developer-centric description of the application. When he pressed for more documentation, his coworkers shrugged. “That is the documentation,” they explained. “The bosses say it’s good enough and it’s a waste of time to write more.”

George’s sense of dread continued to increase.

And so he did all he could. He checked out the application from source control and went spelunking.

On his first run, he noticed the application’s text did not look right. Characters were glitched in various ways, with bad kerning, inconsistent alignment, and missing/extra pixels, though it was still generally readable with some effort.

Thinking he was missing a dependency, he asked his coworkers for their opinion. “No, it normally does that,” they explained with a shrug. “Most of the time.”

“Do we have unit tests for this?” he asked, but deep down in his gut he knew he wouldn’t like the answer.

“Testing programs are in the design and planning stage,” they responded, even though the application had been on the market for eight years now. “The bosses don’t like to spend too much time on testing.”

He still had no direction on what tasks to perform, so George took it upon himself to dig into the font issue, if nothing else to learn more about the codebase. He downloaded a few third-party font test programs from some prominent tech companies and they all agreed that the application had nearly 1,300 basic font rendering errors.

His sense of dread was starting to overwhelm him as he considered his future. How could an application possibly have millions of sales and installs with nearly-unreadable fonts? And how could it possibly be maintained with no testing and no documentation?

He wrote a memo explaining some of his findings and forwarded it to several coworkers, and asking various questions about it before putting too much effort into fixes that could cause issues unforseeable by a newbie who was not familiar with the history behind the application’s overly-complex font-handling codebase.

Later that day, he received a long email directly from the company president. In tirade form, it explained that George was wasting time, there can’t possibly be that many bugs, and if anything like this happens again the time would be deducted from his paycheck. It ended with the president explaining that George was obviously a f***up who would never amount to anything at the company, but he was willing to give him another chance.

George didn’t want another chance. As he walked past the IT Office on his way to the HR Office to announce his resignation, he briefly wondered how much damage his foam stress ball could do to already-failing disk drives if he were to chuck it through the door into the darkness within.

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Liip: Drupal 8 Migrate Multilingual Content using Migrate API

Drupal Planet -

As a follow-up to my previous blog post about the usage of Migrate API in Drupal 8, I would like to give an example, how to import multilingual content and translations in Drupal 8.

Prepare and enable translation for your content type

Before you can start, you need to install the “Language” and “Content Translation” Module. Then head over to “admin/config/regional/content-language” and enable Entity Translation for the node type or the taxonomy you want to be able to translate.

As a starting point for setting up the migrate module, I recommend you my blog post mentioned above. To import data from a CVS file, you also need to install the migrate_source_csv module.

Prerequisites for migrating multilingual entities

Before you start, please check the requirements. You need at least Drupal 8.2 to import multilingual content. We need the destination option “translations”, which was added in a patch in Drupal 8.2. See the corresponding drupal.org issue here.

Example: Import multilingual taxonomy terms

Let’s do a simple example with taxonomy terms. First, create a vocabulary called “Event Types” (machine name: event_type).

Here is a simplified dataset:

Id Name Name_en 1 Kurs Course 2 Turnier Tournament

You may save this a csv file.

Id;Name;Name_en 1;Kurs;Course 2;Turnier;Tournament

The recipe to import multilingual content

As you can see in the example data,  it contains the base language (“German”) and also the translations (“English”) in the same file.

But here comes a word of warning:

Don’t try to import the term and its translation in one migration run. I am aware, that there are some workarounds with post import events, but these are hacks and you will run into troubles later.

The correct way of importing multilingual content, is to

  1. create a migration for the base language and import the terms / nodes. This will create the entities and its fields.
  2. Then, with an additional dependent migration for each translated language, you can then add the translations for the fields you want.

In short: You need a base migration and a migration for every language. Let’s try this out.

Taxonomy term base language config file

In my example, the base language is “German”. Therefore, we first create a migration configuration file for the base language:

This is a basic example in migrating a taxonomy term in my base language ‘de’.

Put the file into <yourmodule>/config/install/migrate.migration.event_type.yml and import the configuration using the drush commands explained in my previous blog post about Migration API.

id: event_type label: Event Types source: plugin: csv # Full path to the file. Is overriden in my plugin path: public://csv/data.csv # The number of rows at the beginning which are not data. header_row_count: 1 # These are the field names from the source file representing the key # uniquely identifying each node - they will be stored in the migration # map table as columns sourceid1, sourceid2, and sourceid3. keys: - Id ids: id: type: string destination: plugin: entity:taxonomy_term process: vid: plugin: default_value default_value: event_type name: source: Name language: 'de' langcode: plugin: default_value default_value: 'de' #Absolutely necessary if you don't want an error migration_dependencies: {}

Taxonomy term translation migration configuration file:

This is the example file for the English translation of the name field of the term.

Put the file into <yourmodule>/config/install/migrate.migration.event_type_en.yml and import the configuration using the drush commands explained in my previous blog post about Migration API.

id: event_type_en label: Event Types english source:   plugin: csv # Full path to the file. Is overriden in my plugin path: public://csv/data.csv # The number of rows at the beginning which are not data. header_row_count: 1 keys: - Id ids: id: type: string destination: plugin: entity:taxonomy_term translations: true process: vid: plugin: default_value default_value: event_type tid: plugin: migration source: id migration: event_type name: source: Name_en language: 'en' langcode: plugin: default_value default_value: 'en' #Absolutely necessary if you don't want an error migration_dependencies: required: - event_type

Explanation and sum up of the learnings

The key in the migrate configuration to import multilingual content are the following lines:

destination: plugin: entity:taxonomy_term translations: true

These configuration lines instruct the migrate module, that a translation should be created.

tid: plugin: migration source: id migration: event_type

This is the real secret. Using the process plugin migration,  we maintain the relationship between the node and its translation.The wiring via the tid field make sure, that Migrate API will not create a new term with a new term id. Instead, the existing term will be loaded and the translation of the migrated field will be added. And thats exactly what we need!

Now go ahead and try to create a working example based on my explanation. Happy Drupal migrations!

Flocon de toile | Freelance Drupal: Using the Drupal 8 Cron API to generate image styles

Drupal Planet -

We saw in a previous post how we could automatically generate the image styles defined on a site for each uploaded source image. We will continue this post for this time to carry out the same operation using the Cron API of Drupal 8, which allows us to desynchronize these mass operations from actions carried out by users, and which can therefore penalize performances.

Deeson: New version of Warden, open source site tracker and manager for Drupal

Drupal Planet -

We’re very pleased to announce a new beta release of our popular open source Warden software, developed in-house at Deeson and which reports and keeps track of multiple Drupal websites on different platforms. This version updates the MongoDB PHP driver driver version, but also fixes a number of number of other issues.

As well as this, we’re also planning our next release, which we’re looking at including JavaScript library versions (jQuery, Backbone, React.js etc) and server package versions (Apache, Nginx, Varnish, MySQL etc). This will help provide further information about the package versions being used by sites and servers you’re running, helping you understand where vulnerabilities could be and highlight libraries that need updating.

The Warden server software itself is written in Symfony and can be downloaded from GitHub. It works by providing a central dashboard which lists all the Drupal sites a developer might be working on, highlighting any that need issues, for example those that need updates. It’s composed of two parts - a module which needs to be installed on each of your websites and a central dashboard hosted on a web server.

Hosting companies like Acquia and Pantheon have their own reporting tools, but only if work if you only host websites on their platforms. If you have a number of websites running on multiple platforms, you need Warden to report on them all. Here is a guide to how Warden works.

Astronomers Pinpoint Location of Mysterious Cosmic Radio Bursts

Slashdot -

New submitter Netdoctor writes: Fast Radio Bursts (FRB) are massively powerful short-lived radio bursts from far-away sources, and so far a number of theories exist on what generates them. Recently several were detected in the same general location, which adds to the mystery, as any of these pulses would be powerful enough to destroy a source. Since this group of FRBs were detected with single radio telescope dishes, the exact location was difficult to pinpoint. BBC reports here with results from the Very Large Array in New Mexico being trained on the source. From the report: "Outlining their work at a major conference, astronomers say they have now traced the source of one of these bursts to a different galaxy. Dr Chatterjee, from Cornell University, New York, and colleagues used a multi-antenna radio telescope called the Very Large Array (VLA), which had sufficient resolution to precisely determine the location of a flash known as FRB 121102. In 83 hours of observing time over six months in 2016, the VLA detected nine bursts from FRB 121102. In addition to detecting the bright bursts from FRB 121102, the team's observations also revealed an ongoing, persistent source of weaker radio emission in the same region. The flashes and the persistent source must be within 100 light-years of each other, and scientists think they are likely to be either the same object or physically associated with one another. He said some features of the radio source resembled those associated with large black holes. But he said these were typically found only in large galaxies."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Agiledrop.com Blog: AGILEDROP: Drupal Blogs from December

Drupal Planet -

Last month we began with an overview of our blogs that were written in November. We promised that from now on, at the beginning of every month, you will be able to see, which Drupal blogs we have written for you over the past month. With that, you will be better informed. So, here's our December's work. Besides an overview of November's blogs from us and from other authors, we began our December's work with Drupal Camps in Middle America. There have been some complaints about the choice of the term Middle America, but we stand by our decision, which we also explained in the blog post.… READ MORE

NASA Unveils Two New Missions To Study Truly Strange Asteroids

Slashdot -

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Space.com: NASA's next low-cost planetary missions will attempt to unravel the mysteries of some seriously bizarre asteroids. The space agency has selected projects called Lucy and Psyche via its Discovery Program, which funds highly focused space missions to destinations throughout the solar system. The Lucy project will investigate the Trojan asteroids, which share an orbit with Jupiter, while Psyche will journey to the asteroid belt to study a huge, metallic asteroid named 16 Psyche that resides there. Lucy is scheduled to launch in October 2021. If all goes according to plan, the probe will visit an asteroid in the main asteroid belt -- located between Mars and Jupiter -- in 2025, and then go on to study six Trojan asteroids between 2027 and 2033, NASA officials said. There are two streams of Trojan asteroids. One trails Jupiter, and the other leads the giant planet around the sun. Scientists think both streams may be planetary building blocks that formed far from the sun before being captured into their current orbits by Jupiter's powerful gravity. Psyche will explore one of the oddest objects in the solar system -- a 130-mile-wide (210 kilometers) metallic asteroid that may be the core of an ancient, Mars-size planet. Violent collisions billions of years ago might have stripped away the layers of rock that once lay atop this metallic object, scientists say. Psyche is scheduled to launch in October 2023 and arrive at the asteroid in 2030, NASA officials said.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Department of Labor Sues Google Over Compensation Data

Slashdot -

An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNNMoney: The Department of Labor filed a lawsuit against Google on Wednesday to get the Internet company to turn over compensation data on its employees. The data request is part of a routine audit into Google's equal opportunity hiring practices, which is required because of the company's role as a federal contractor. Google provides cloud computing services to various federal agencies and the military. Google is obligated to let the government access records that show its hiring doesn't discriminate based on race, religion, sexual orientation, gender and more. According to the lawsuit, Google has repeatedly refused to provide names, contact information, job history and salary history details that the government has requested for its employees. The Labor Department is now requesting that a judge order all of Google's federal contracts canceled unless it complies with the data request. "Despite many opportunities to produce this information voluntarily, Google has refused to do so," Thomas M. Dowd, acting director for the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, said in a statement. "We filed this lawsuit so we can obtain the information we need to complete our evaluation."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Medium Cuts Staff By One-Third, Shuts Down New York and DC Offices

Slashdot -

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Medium, the San Francisco-based online publishing platform founded in 2012, has laid off 50 employees, or roughly one-third of its staff. The company will also close offices in New York and Washington, DC. Ev Williams, Medium's CEO, wrote in a lengthy post on Wednesday that the company would be changing its business model despite ending 2016 as "our best year yet." He blamed the entire concept of "ad-driven media on the Internet" as the root of the company's shortcomings. As Williams, who is also a co-founder of Twitter, wrote: "It simply doesn't serve people. In fact, it's not designed to. The vast majority of articles, videos, and other "content" we all consume on a daily basis is paid for -- directly or indirectly -- by corporations who are funding it in order to advance their goals. And it is measured, amplified, and rewarded based on its ability to do that. Period. As a result, we getwell, what we get. And it's getting worse."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Asus Unveils ZenFone AR With Google's Daydream and Tango Support, Coming In Q2

Slashdot -

Krystalo quotes a report from VentureBeat: Probably the most-leaked device at CES 2017 so far has been the Asus ZenFone AR, through no fault of the Taiwanese company. Partner Qualcomm revealed much of the details in a blog post touting the use of its Snapdragon 821 chipset, and infamous leaker Evan Blass (evleaks) added front and back press renders of the phone. The key part that was missing was a release timeframe, which we now have: Q2 2017. The ZenFone AR stands out as the first smartphone that will support both of Google's Daydream and Tango platforms, and is only the second to support the latter (Lenovo's Phab 2 Pro was the first). Daydream is a virtual reality (VR) platform built into Android 7.0 Nougat and above. Tango is an augmented reality (AR) platform that detects users' positions relative to places and objects around them without using GPS or other external signals.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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