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Walmart Teams Up With Microsoft To Fight Amazon, Netflix

Slashdot -

Slashdot readers hyperclocker and Hallux-F-Sinister have shared news about Walmart's new strategy to take on Amazon. In a nutshell, Walmart will use more of Microsoft's cloud services and work with the company on AI and machine learning projects. The goal is to reduce its energy consumption and improve its delivery systems. Hyperclocker shares an excerpt from a report: Today, Walmart announced that it has established a strategic partnership with Microsoft to, "further accelerate Walmart's digital transformation in retail, empower its associates worldwide and make shopping faster and easier for millions of customers around the world." What that means in reality is, Walmart is embracing Microsoft's cloud services and will run its digital operations by taking full advantage of Microsoft Azure and Office 365. The partnership agreement lasts for five years and starts with a team of Walmart and Microsoft engineers working together to transition the retailer to Microsoft's ecosystem. Hallux-F-Sinister provides some commentary: According to CNN Money, Walmart and Microsoft are ganging up on Amazon.com. I found myself wondering if this was more like Lex Luthor teaming up with the Joker to fight Sinestro, or Bruce Wayne letting Tony Stark use the Bat Computer to fight against the thing Richard Pryor's character designed in whichever godawful nineteen eighties-era Superman sequel he was in. The story itself would bore an accountant to tears, I am convinced, so I did not dare read it for fear of being rendered insensate; but here is the URL if you find you are in desperate need of sleep. Perhaps this other bit of news will wake you up: Walmart is also contemplating starting its own streaming service to compete with Amazon and Netflix. According to GeekWire, citing The Information, "Walmart is considering various ways to stand out, including undercutting Amazon and Netflix on price or offering an ad-supported free service."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

GOP Congressman Introduces Bill To Reinstate Net Neutrality Rules

Slashdot -

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) today announced his support for a bill that would institute the basic outlines of the FCC's 2015 Open Internet order, which banned the throttling and blocking of content as well as harmful paid prioritization practices. He is also the first Republican to sign on to the Democrat-led discharge petition, which aims to force a vote on the House floor to roll back the FCC's December decision to repeal net neutrality. The Verge reports: The 21st Century Internet Act aims to restructure the current framework by which the internet has been governed since the '90s. Coffman's bill moves past this argument by amending the 1934 Telecommunications Act and adding the new Title VIII. This new classification would "permanently codify into law the 'four corners' of net neutrality" by banning providers from controlling traffic quality and speed and forbidding them from participating in paid prioritization programs or charging access fees from edge providers. On top of providing stable ground for net neutrality rules to be upheld in the future, the legislation also makes it illegal for providers to participate in "unfair or deceptive acts or practices." It directs the FCC to investigate claims of anticompetitive behavior on behalf of consumers after receiving their complaints. Transparency requirements are heightened for providers as well, as companies must publicly disclose information regarding their network practices to allow consumers to "make informed choices regarding use of such services."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Microsoft Is Making the Windows Command Line a Lot Better

Slashdot -

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Over the last few years, Microsoft has been working to improve the Windows console. Console windows now maximize properly, for example. In the olden days, hitting maximize would make the window taller but not wider. Today, the action will fill the whole screen, just like any other window. Especially motivated by the Windows subsystem for Linux, the console in Windows 10 supports 16 million colors and VT escape sequences, enabling much richer console output than has traditionally been possible on Windows. Microsoft is working to build a better console for Windows, one that we hope will open the door to the same flexibility and capabilities that Unix users have enjoyed for more than 40 years. The APIs seem to be in the latest Windows 10 Insider builds, though documentation is a little scarce for now. The command-line team is publishing a series of blog posts describing the history of the Windows command-line, and how the operating system's console works. The big reveal of the new API is coming soon, and with this, Windows should finally be able to have reliable, effective tabbed consoles, with emoji support, rich Unicode, and all the other things that the Windows console doesn't do... yet.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

The US is Facing a Serious Shortage of Airline Pilots

Slashdot -

An anonymous reader shares a report: The national security of the United States relies on a healthy airline industry. That requires modern reliable airplanes -- and highly skilled pilots to operate them. However, the United States has a shortage of pilots right now, particularly at the regional airline levels. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, there were about 827,000 pilots in America in 1987. Over the past three decades, that number has decreased by 30%. Meanwhile, during this period, there has been a tremendous increase in the demand for air travel. The International Air Transport Association predicts that, over the next 20 years, air travel will double. This is a classic case of low supply and high demand. This mismatch has created a perfect storm that could wreak havoc on the US airline industry over the next decade. The somber news is this shortage is going to get much worse. I have not only studied and researched the airline industry since 1978, but I also was a pilot for 19 years, before going back to academia in 2006. In the 1970s, when most of today's airline pilots like myself were growing up, piloting for an airline was considered a prestigious career. The job offered not only high salaries and nice schedules with many days off, but also a respected position in society. In the early 1990s, pilot salaries approached $300,000 in today's dollars for some international pilots. What's more, during this time, the military had a steady and consistent demand for pilots. A young aspiring aviator could go into the military to receive all of his or her flight training. Once these pilots had fulfilled their military commitment, they were almost guaranteed a good job flying for a major airline. Today, this is no longer the case. The career of the airline pilot has lost its luster.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Baidu Ends Brazil Operations, Will Now Handle the Brazilian User Base From China

Slashdot -

Chinese web search company Baidu is ending its operations in Brazil, five years after it set up shop in the country. From a report: The company will be handling the Brazilian user base for its web services from China. There are currently two employees working on formal procedures related to the firm's local shutdown, according to local newspaper Valor Economico. A representative for the company said there is no formal statement for Baidu's departure from Brazil. It is also unclear whether Yan Di, the Chinese executive responsible for the Brazil operation, will still work for the company. Baidu's plans for the country changed as part of a shift in the company's global strategy. As part of the new plan, the firm started to spin out business units responsible for apps and mobile advertising, as well as financial services, to sharpen its focus on artificial intelligence.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Thousands of Patient Records Held for Ransom in Ontario Home Care Data Breach, Attackers Claim

Slashdot -

CBC reports: The detailed medical histories and contact information of possibly tens of thousands of home-care patients in Ontario are allegedly being held for ransom by thieves who recently raided the computer systems of a health-care provider. CarePartners, which provides home medical care services on behalf of the Ontario government, announced last month that it had been breached. It said only that personal health and financial information of patients had been "inappropriately accessed," and did not elaborate further. However, a group claiming responsibility for the breach recently contacted CBC News and provided a sample of the data it claims to have accessed, shedding new light on the extent of the breach. The sample includes thousands of patient medical records with phone numbers and addresses, dates of birth, and health card numbers, as well as detailed medical histories including past conditions, diagnoses, surgical procedures, care plans and medications for patients across the province.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Thousands of Mega Logins Dumped Online, Exposing User Files

Slashdot -

Thousands of credentials for accounts associated with New Zealand-based file storage service Mega have been published online, ZDNet reports. From the report: The text file contains over 15,500 usernames, passwords, and files names, indicating that each account had been improperly accessed and file names scraped. Patrick Wardle, chief research officer and co-founder at Digita Security, found the text file in June after it had been uploaded to malware analysis site VirusTotal some months earlier by a user purportedly in Vietnam. Wardle passed the data to ZDNet. We verified that the data belonged to Mega, the file-sharing site formerly owned by internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom by contacting several users, who confirmed that the email address, password, and some of the files we showed them were used on Mega.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Robots that Paint Have Gotten Pretty Impressive

Slashdot -

An anonymous reader shares a report: Of the 100 images submitted to the 2018 Robotart competition, an automaton called CloudPainter rose to the top, with evocative portraits featuring varying degrees of abstraction. One of its winning images was created by a team of neural networks, AI algorithms, and robots. Robotart's founder, Andrew Conru, told MIT Technology Review that this year's entries have shown refined brushstrokes and composition. "CloudPainter, the winner this year, has been involved all three years and has made the most improvement in his system," he says. "The resulting work, while it still uses an inputted photo as reference, can execute paintings using different painting styles."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Slackware, Oldest Actively Maintained GNU/Linux Distribution, Turns 25

Slashdot -

sombragris writes: Slackware, the oldest GNU/Linux distribution which is still actively maintained, turned 25 this week. The latest stable version, Slackware 14.2, was released two years ago, but the development version (-current) is updated on a fast pace. Today the development version offers kernel 4.14.55, gcc 8.1.1, glibc 2.27. mesa 18.1.4, xorg 1.20, and the Xfce and KDE desktop environments as default, with many more available as third-party packages. Other points of note are that Slackware is systemd-free, opting instead for a simple BSD-style init. Since its first release ever, this has been a distro with a strong following due to its hallmarks of simplicity, speed, ease of maintenance and configuration. Happy birthday Slackware!

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

mark.ie: Getting Value (URI) of a Drupal Media (File) Field from within a Twig Template

Drupal Planet -

Getting Value (URI) of a Drupal Media (File) Field from within a Twig Template

To the future or to the past, to a time when thought is free, to the next time when I need to get the value of file field to use as a variable in Drupal 8 with Twig.

markconroy Tue, 07/17/2018 - 17:07

Working my way down through one of Drupal's render arrays of doom to try to get the URI of a file in a media field (in a paragraph type), I came up with this. If you can improve it, feel free to drop a note in the comments:

{% set slide_url = file_url(content.field_p_ei_speaker_slides[0]['#media'].field_m_file_file.entity.uri.value) %}

In steps:

  1. Get the {{ content }} variable
  2. Drill down into the media field (Speaker Slides - pdf, ppt, etc)
  3. Get the first element (0 - it's not a multi-value field in this case)
  4. Load up the #media object
  5. Interrogate the field on the media entity that has the file attached (the File field)
  6. Load this entity (entity here is not presented as an item in the {{ dpm() }} but it's very handy to know
  7. Get the uri.value from here
  8. Wrap it all in a file_url() function

For clarity, here's what I had in PatternLab:

  {# Begin Slides Download #}
  {% if event_slide_download %}
   
     
        {% include '@basic-elements/icons/_svg.twig'
          with {
            svgpath : '@basic-elements/icons/svg/download.svg'
          }
        %}
     

   
  {% endif %}
  {# End Slides Download #}

And here's what I have in the corresponding Drupal paragraph.html.twig tempate:

{% if paragraph.field_p_ei_speaker_slides.value %}
  {% set event_slide_download = true %}
  {% set slide_url = file_url(content.field_p_ei_speaker_slides[0]['#media'].field_m_file_file.entity.uri.value) %}
  {% set event_slide_download_link = slide_url %}
{% endif %}

{% include "@building-blocks/event-section/event-item.twig" %}

So now, my future self, you will know where to find this next time.

Cuba Starts Rolling Out Internet on Mobile Phones

Slashdot -

Communist-run Cuba has started providing internet on the mobile phones of select users as it aims to roll out the service nationwide by year-end, in a further step toward opening one of the Western Hemisphere's least connected countries. From a report: Journalists at state-run news outlets were among the first this year to get mobile internet, provided by Cuba's telecoms monopoly, as part of a wider campaign for greater internet access that new President Miguel Diaz-Canel has said should boost the economy and help Cubans defend their revolution. Analysts said broader web access will also ultimately weaken the government's control of what information reaches people in the one-party island state that has a monopoly on the media. Cuba frowns on public dissent and blocks access to dissident websites.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Astronomers Discover 12 New Moons Orbiting Jupiter - One on Collision Course With the Others

Slashdot -

One of a dozen new moons discovered around Jupiter is circling the planet on a suicide orbit that will inevitably lead to its violent destruction, astronomers say. From a report: Researchers in the US stumbled upon the new moons while hunting for a mysterious ninth planet that is postulated to lurk far beyond the orbit of Neptune, the most distant planet in the solar system. The team first glimpsed the moons in March last year from the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, but needed more than a year to confirm that the bodies were locked in orbit around the gas giant. "It was a long process," said Scott Sheppard, who led the effort at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington DC. Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system, was hardly short of moons before the latest findings. The fresh haul of natural satellites brings the total number of Jovian moons to 79, more than are known to circle any other planet in our cosmic neighbourhood. A head-on collision between two Jovian moons would create a crash so large it would be visible from earth, astronomers said.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Stable kernel updates

LWN Headlines -

Stable kernels 4.17.7, 4.14.56, 4.9.113, and 4.4.141 have been released. The 4.17.7 kernel is broken for i386 systems. "I did this release anyway with this known problem as there is a fix in here for x86-64 systems that was nasty to track down and was affecting people. Given that the huge majority of systems are NOT i386, I felt this was a safe release to do at this point in time." Beyond that, these kernels all contain the usual set of important fixes.

Security updates for Tuesday

LWN Headlines -

Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (thunderbird), Debian (ruby-rack-protection), Fedora (firefox and soundtouch), Red Hat (kernel), Scientific Linux (gnupg2), SUSE (perl and python-paramiko), and Ubuntu (policykit-1).

Traces of Lost Society Found in 'Pristine' Cloud Forest

Slashdot -

Deep in Ecuador's lush Quijos Valley, a society thrived -- and then disappeared. But a lake preserved its story. From a report: In the 1850s, a team of botanists venturing into the cloud forest in the Quijos Valley of eastern Ecuador hacked their way through vegetation so thick they could barely make their way forward. This, they thought, was the heart of the pristine forest, a place where people had never gone. But they were very wrong. Indigenous Quijo groups had developed sophisticated agricultural settlements across the region, settlements that had been decimated with the arrival of Spanish explorers in the 1500s. In their absence, the forest sprung back. This process of societal collapse and forest reclamation is described in a new study published today in Nature Ecology and Evolution. The Quijos Valley lies in one of the most biodiverse cloud forests in the world, along a pre-Columbian trade route that linked the rich Amazonian lowlands with the high Andes. Thousands of people lived there centuries before the Spanish arrived, farming maize, squash, beans, and even passionfruit in poor soil of the valley floor. The study's researchers found a tiny lake in the valley and dug down into the silt at the bottom, pulling up a plug of sediment that had built up over the last 1000 years -- and found evidence of human occupation going back to the very oldest part of the core. In the oldest layers, scientists found tiny pieces of pollen -- swept from the valley and the surrounding forest into the lake by wind -- from maize and other plants that only grow in open, airy conditions, which told them that humans were cultivating plants on the valley floor. They also found plenty of charcoal bits, indications that people had lit fires nearby.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

[$] Python post-Guido

LWN Headlines -

The recent announcement by Guido van Rossum that he was stepping away from his "benevolent dictator for life" (BDFL) role for Python was met with some surprise, but not much shock, at least in the core-developer community. Van Rossum has been telegraphing some kind of change, at some unspecified point, for several years now, though the proximate cause (the "PEP 572 mess") is unfortunate. In the meantime, though, the project needs to figure out how to govern itself moving forward—Van Rossum did not appoint a successor and has left the governance question up to the core developers.

Samsung Unveils World's First 10nm-class 8 Gb LPDDR5 DRAM

Slashdot -

BrianFagioli writes: Today, Samsung announces yet another milestone, this time with its low-powered memory. You see, Samsung has created what it calls the "industry's first 10-nanometer (nm) class 8-gigabit (Gb) LPDDR5 DRAM." The company promises significant power reduction -- up to 30 percent over LPDDR4X DRAM. This should be important for the upcoming 5G explosion. "The 8Gb LPDDR5 boasts a data rate of up to 6,400 megabits per second (Mb/s), which is 1.5 times as fast as the mobile DRAM chips used in current flagship mobile devices (LPDDR4X, 4266Mb/s). With the increased transfer rate, the new LPDDR5 can send 51.2 gigabytes (GB) of data, or approximately 14 full-HD video files (3.7GB each), in a second," says Samsung. The Galaxy-maker further says, "The 10nm-class LPDDR5 DRAM will be available in two bandwidths -- 6,400Mb/s at a 1.1 operating voltage (V) and 5,500Mb/s at 1.05V -- making it the most versatile mobile memory solution for next-generation smartphones and automotive systems."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

OpenSense Labs: Approach your Mobile-First Design with This Guide

Drupal Planet -

Approach your Mobile-First Design with This Guide Harshit Tue, 07/17/2018 - 19:21

It’s always a battle when planning a website design. Your end goals, target audience, content, user experience, everything must align. It’s like a cloud of thoughts right inside your team’s head. It’s critical to optimize your website experience for the devices your audience is or will be using. 

Emarketer forecasts, approximately 83% of internet users will use a mobile phone to go online by 2021. 

Since now that we’ve established the fact that mobile is where the future lies, a mobile-first redesign is a way to go. We’ll dive into what a mobile-first approach entails, including tips for creating a seamless experience for visitors from mobile devices. 

In 2018, it is critical to analyze what’s the right way to go about it. 

1. Shoot for the least 

Without compromising the functionalities, it is definitely a challenge to pull everything into such a limited real estate. The difference in the screen space of various devices should tell you the varied approach to design. 

Minimalism begins by removing every element one by one.

After listing down all the elements, prioritizing is key. Sort out the cruciality of every element and how would they hierarchically sit in the interface. This should be in a way that the most important elements are displayed prominently. 

If after this exercise there’s still space for more, carefully add some elements in order of importance without overdoing it. Doing this would make sure every inch is utilised to the fullest. 

Content Repository 

The approach to this should be by drafting a document or a spreadsheet containing all the content elements you want the interface to entail. 

List down the page titles, navigation titles and be open to comments from peers. An example is given below:

An example of a content repository2. Analyse the Important Interaction Points

Comparing smartphones from 2008 to the ones in 2018,  a lot has changed since then. The user experience is no more frustrating. Earlier you had to touch the exact alphabet in the keyboard now the smart devices can read your movement through sensors. Keyboards differ according to the smartphone size, button space and overall sensitivity. And so your mobile design should be approached in the same manner. 

Unfortunately, many websites are still lagging behind when it comes to the user experience which leads to weak engagement, poor sessions and doubled bounce rates. 
Make sure the important elements are not missed. 

This includes: 

  • Make button more clickable
  • Make CTAs more appealing and responsive
  • Choose the right color combination for the user to read on the sunny noon
  • Give hyperlinks plenty of space
  • Keep the tabs in the drop down manner
Good vs Bad UX design The number of mobile phone users in the world is expected to pass the five billion mark by 2019, according to Statista.  3. Optimize Your Images

When it comes to loading size, images make up nearly 64% of an average web page. Outlining the “why”, it is now important to know how you can optimize your images to deliver an optimum and engaging experience to your user, without hogging on those extra kilobytes of data. 

Hacks to Optimize Images
  • Use correct image dimensions for faster loading
  • Use the correct image format. JPEG image would be a lot lighter than the PNG.
  • Compress your image with lossless compression
  • Use Lazy loader to keep the user engaged
4. Content is all that matters

Devising content around mobile is time-consuming as it requires due thinking and goes through numerous iterations along the course of finalizing the content itself. 

Taking the limited space aside for a while, there are more added difficulties when it comes to mobile web development. 

There comes screen rotation, device to device compatibility, text and image overlaps and what not. These factors have everything to make your content look very less appealing. What do you do for cutting these hurdles off? 

Think from an app perspective

Mobile users are accustomed to motion and a modicum of control in their experience. Think about off-canvas navigation, expandable widgets, AJAX calls, or other elements on the screen with which users can interact without refreshing the page. This would help you always maintain the right threshold for user experience. 

Screen and remove all the distracting elements, make the content as precise as possible while catering to actual product or service display. 

Landscape photos and complex graphics don't show well when your screen is reduced by half. Take into account the mobile user with pictures that are comprehensible on handheld screens.

5. Be a User, Before Presenting to the User

Our industry standard for approaching design is devising wireframes first. During wireframing or prototyping, use adaptive breakpoints reference. It streamlines the process of moving to different screen sizes, starting with the least real estate. 

Hover is off the table

Interactive interfaces from 2018 mostly utilize hover effects. UX designers go bonkers over them. But that’s a desktop only thing as we do not have the finger-hover technology in town. You will have to forget hover' existence when going mobile. 

Having trouble configuring your site? Check out services by OpenSense Labs.

6. Opt for Accelerated Mobile Pages

Your users are likely to bounce off your website if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds. With mobile, the standard has been set high (or rather less). Since the internet has been taken for granted, people have become second sensitive these days. 

AMP does bring you speedy pages and is a great way to boost your SEO and stop losing out of potential customers. It’s important to note that Google has gone lengths to identify and promote AMP pages.

If your web pages follow AMP standards, it becomes eligible to be cached by Google and appear in the search results and carousels with the AMP logo, indicating that they offer a fast experience. 

A standard built on top of existing technologies to speed up the loading of web pages on mobile devices.

How to go about it?

Configure AMP in your website

7. Make engagement on Mobile Simple 

Whether it’s deciding between a “hamburger” style menu or a more visible-style on the front end or how to display forms on specific pages, don’t make engagement paths more abstract than they need to be. Engagement should be extremely crisp and effective in nature.


Set the Display Order

Now, after listing down all the elements, prioritizing is key. Sort out the cruciality of every element and how would they hierarchically sit in the interface. This should be in a way that the most important elements are displayed prominently. 

8. Test It Before You Sell It

Even after having the final product in your hands, recommendations and tweaks will keep flowing in. Change is evergreen. With changes being made, you need to be testing them as soon as they are deployed. 

Nothing beats discovering for yourself how usable a website is (or isn’t). Step away from your computer desktops and load up your product on a real phone or tablet. 

Test it in a real devices 

Using testing tools, you can conduct A/B tests. Some tests may be like, an orange CTA vs a Yellow CTA, Button size changes, block layout tweaks and etc. Tests can range from regular functionality checks to user experience tests.

Tap through pages. Is the site easy to navigate? Does it load in a timely fashion? Are the text and graphics easy to read?

It's as clear as the skies that the future of the internet is dependent on mobile experiences. Responsive web design is a must if you run your business online or attend to your customers for any purpose. 

The tips above will help you build what you are looking at while making the least possible amount of mistakes. 

If you need any further recommendations, we are here. Hook with us at [email protected] or tweet us at @OpenSenseLabs and our mobile development team will save you the trouble.

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