Feed aggregator

Tesla Model 3 Teardown Reveals a 'Symphony of Engineering,' 30 Percent Profit Margin

Slashdot -

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Munro & Associates, a small Detroit-area firm that disassembles new cars and analyzes them down to the nuts and bolts, came out in April with damning findings that the Model 3 was poorly built and -- even worse for Tesla's long-term outlook -- costly to build. On that second point, at least, founder Sandy Munro has reversed course. Upon further analysis, his firm has found that the sedan can be profitable. It may even have the potential to make a 30 percent margin, which would be unmatched by any other other battery-powered vehicle. Munro said the systems that impressed him most were the tight integration of circuit board components, which he calls "a symphony of engineering," and the efficiency of the battery developed by Tesla and Panasonic Corp. Munro also pointed to a comprehensive side-by-side comparison of the parts and materials used by the Model 3, General Motors Co.'s Chevrolet Bolt, and BMW AG's i3, in which the Model 3 comes out favorably. The report echoes a teardown published in June by German magazine WirtschaftsWoche, which found that the Model 3 costs about $28,000 to build -- $18,000 for materials and $10,000 for production.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Verizon Confirms That It Will No Longer Activate 3G Phones

Slashdot -

According to Droid Life, Verizon is no longer activating 3G-only phones. Instead, they will only accept 4G LTE-equipped phones going forward. Here's what Verizon had to say about the matter: "For several years we've been been publicly saying that our 3G CDMA network will remain available through the end of 2019. Virtually all traffic on our network is on our 4G LTE network. To facilitate a smooth transition to 4G LTE capable products and services, we are no longer allowing devices that are not 4G LTE capable to be activated on our network." From the report: Now, as is noted in the statement above, Verizon has committed to shutting down its 3G CDMA network by the end of 2019. They also stopped selling 3G devices some time ago, I believe, and even started selling LTE-only flip phones to replace them. [...] On a related note, an earlier leak suggested that Verizon may stop some older LTE devices from being activated too. The documentation there said that CDMA devices as well as devices that do not support HD Voice or VoLTE will not be accepted.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Classic WTF: The Source Control Shingle

The Daily WTF -

Our summer break continues. I once worked on a team which made "shingles"- software modules that were layered on top of a packaged product. There were a lot of WTFs in those shingles, but nothing that can compare to this once. Original--Remy

The year was 1999 and the dot-com boom was going full-throttle. Companies everywhere were focused on building revolutionary applications using nothing but top-shelf hardware and state-of-the-art software tools. Developers everywhere were trying to figure out if they should play more foosball, more air hockey, or sit back down on their Aeron and write more code. Everywhere, that is, except Boise, Idaho. Or at least, Dave's small corner of it.

At Dave's company, developers worked at a solid pace, using reliable tools, for a stable industry. They were sub-sub-contractors on a giant project commissioned by the U.S. Navy to condense naval vessel documentation. Generally speaking, the complete documentation required for a modern warship-from the GPS calibration instructions to the giant 130-millimeter cannon repair guide-is measured in tons. By condensing the documentation into the electronic equivalent, they could not only save tremendous physical space, but they could make it much easier to navigate.

A Simple Plan

Dave's company's small piece of the pie involved writing a very specific application for a particular group of users. Their application needed to track who moved which box of classified documentation from where to where, and why. Given the very simple requirements, the entire application was assigned to Mark.

Mark believed in keeping things simple: he rarely left the command line, his text editor was notepad and his source repository was a few backup folders on a network drive. He didn't need or want more than that. It was a simple task that called for his simple methodologies.

As their app neared completion, a whole new set of requirements came in. Now, they had to add in security and logging. When Dave joined Mark's one-man team to help out with this, the current system of source control -- nothing -- became inconvenient for collaborating.

Dave suggested they set up a source-control repository, but Mark wanted to keep things simple. He devised a solution called the "source-control shingle."

Roofing and Revisions

The source-control shingle was literally that: an actual shingle from someone's house that somehow ended up in their office. It acted like a "talking stick," in that only he who possessed the shingle was allowed to edit the common libraries.

As time went on, the project's scope grew immensely. More and more developers came on board, and the source-control shingle was pushed to its limits. Despite not being in possession of the shingle, some developers broke protocol and edited the library files on the share drive. Finally, Mark agreed to use a simple source repository. He wanted to use the only source-control system that guaranteed file locks: Visual Source Safe.

Unfortunately, Source Safe was so painful to license and manage that Mark had no choice but to explore other options, some of which involved a piece of painted wood. After much arguing and cajoling, Mark agreed to try out open source CVS. Things went well for the first few days, but quickly took a turn for the worse.

"What happened to my code?" Mark asked. "I just did a CVS UPDATE and everything I wrote this morning is gone!"

"It's working fine for me," one of the developers replied.

"Same here," another joined in. "I just checked in my changes a few minutes ago, and they're still here."

"Wait," a third one questioned, "did you do an UPDATE before the COMMIT?"

"Did I what?" the second developer replied. "Oh. Crap."

Exasperated, Mark jumped. "That's it! We're going back to the shingle!"

Fortunately, some of the other developers managed to convince Mark to stick with CVS, at least for a little while longer. One of the developers even managed to enforce better source control practices using some server-side scripts. And despite Mark's constant reservations, they ended up staying with CVS throughout the project. But the whole while, Mark kept the shingle handy, just in case.

[Advertisement] ProGet supports your applications, Docker containers, and third-party packages, allowing you to enforce quality standards across all components. Download and see how!

China Negotiating For Cheaper Cancer Drugs

Slashdot -

hackingbear writes: "China's medical insurance regulator will begin negotiations with domestic and overseas pharmaceutical companies to lower prices of cancer drugs in a bid to cut the financial burden on patients," reports Reuters. "The State Medical Insurance Administration said it was preparing to include more cancer drugs on its list of medicines eligible for reimbursement, and said 10 foreign and eight domestic pharmaceutical companies had expressed a willingness to work with the authority." Unlike India, or what we may have been told, China enforces pharmaceutical patents rigorously. Recently, the Chinese box office hit Dying to Survive, which told the real life story of a leukemia patient/businessman put on trial due to smuggling imitation drugs to help fellow patients who cannot pay the exorbitant cost of a drug produced by a Swiss pharmaceutical giant, has brought in huge revenues and rave reviews since the movie was released on July 5. Last year, China forced two rounds of NRDL negotiations after seven years of stasis. More than a dozen cancer drugs, including AstraZeneca's Iressa and Roche's Herceptin, are now covered by the country's insurance program, but only after the companies agreed to huge discounts -- a typical move trading lower prices for higher volume. Demand for Herceptin, for example, surged after the discount and triggered a national shortage.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Blair Wadman: How to add page templates for content types in Drupal 8

Drupal Planet -

This weeks tutorial will dive into how you can add page templates for a specific content type in Drupal 8. Sometimes you need to create a page template for a specific content type so that you can customise it. Drupal allows you to create content types for node templates out of the box by following the naming convention node--content-type.html.twig. But things aren’t so simple for page templates. Drupal does not automatically detect page templates for content types purely based on the naming convention. Fortunately it just takes a few lines of code and you can create a page template for any content type you choose....

Netflix's Subscriber Growth Stalls

Slashdot -

Netflix shares plunged by more than 14% on Monday, after the firm reported disappointing subscriber growth. While the entertainment service added 5.2 million subscribers last quarter, it forecasted a growth of 6.2 million. BBC reports: Investors are worried about Netflix's growth potential in the face of increased competition from tech giants such as Apple, YouTube and Amazon, as well as traditional firms, which have started to invest more in online streaming. Disney, for example, plans to launch its own streaming service and stop licensing some of its material to Netflix. In a letter to investors, Netflix called it a "strong but not stellar quarter," ending with about 130 million subscribers globally. The firm added just 670,000 subscribers in the U.S. -- far short of the more than one million it added in the second quarter of 2017. It added 4.5 million subscribers internationally, fewer than the two most recent quarters but up 8% year-on-year. However, it said its finances were strong. The company reported $3.9 billion in quarterly revenue, up 40% compared to the second quarter of 2017. Profits totaled $384.3 million, almost six times the figure during the same period a year ago.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

D-Wave's Quantum Computer Successfully Models a Quantum System

Slashdot -

An anonymous reader shares an excerpt from Ars Technica: D-Wave's hardware has always occupied a unique space on the computing landscape. It's a general-purpose computer that relies on quantum mechanical effects to perform calculations. And, while other quantum-computer makers have struggled to put more than a few dozen qubits together, D-Wave's systems have already scaled to more than 2,000 addressable bits. But the D-Wave systems don't perform calculations in the same way and, despite all those bits, haven't clearly demonstrated performance that can outpace even traditional computing hardware. But D-Wave has come out with a research paper in Science that suggests that the system can do interesting things even in its current state. The company's researchers have set it loose modeling a quantum system that closely resembles the bits used in the hardware itself, allowing them to examine quantum phase transitions. While this still isn't cutting-edge performance, it does allow researchers full control over the physical parameters of a relevant quantum system as it undergoes phase changes.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Samsung's Galaxy S10 To Come In Three Sizes, With An In-Display Fingerprint Sensor

Slashdot -

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says Samsung will launch the Galaxy S10 in three different sizes: 5.8 inches, 6.1 inches, and 6.4 inches. They are nearly the same sizes that Kuo expects Apple's next series of iPhones to come in. The Verge reports: The larger two S10 models will include in-display fingerprint sensors, Kuo says, while the smaller model will include a fingerprint sensor on the side. That suggests the smaller model will be Samsung's entry-level offering, while the larger two will potentially have higher-end specs and features. Another recent rumor says the S10 might include five cameras, adding an additional wide angle option to the back and another lens to the front for capturing portrait effects. It's very likely plans will change between now and when the Galaxy S10 launches, which should be early next year. The next flagship smartphone to come from the South Korean company will be the Galaxy Note 9. It's expected to make its appearance at an event on August 9th.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Mark Shropshire: Demystifying Decoupled Drupal with Contenta CMS Presentation at Drupal Camp Asheville

Drupal Planet -

It was a pleasure to present "Demystifying Decoupled Drupal with Contenta CMS" with Bayo Fodeke at Drupal Camp Asheville 2018 on July 14th, 2018. I want to thank the organizers, volunteers, attendees, presenters, and sponsors for making another awesome year in the beautiful North Carolina mountains. This is one great camp that gets better and better each year. Below you will find the video for my talk and slide deck::

"Demystifying Decoupled Drupal with Contenta CMS".

Blog Category: 

Hacking Campaign Targets iPhone Users With Data-Stealing, Location-Tracking Malware

Slashdot -

ZDNet reports of a new mobile malware campaign that is "gaining access to iPhones by tricking users to download an open-source mobile device management (MDM) software package." From the report: Once in control, the unidentified hackers can steal various forms of sensitive information from infected devices, including the phone number, serial number, location, contact details, user's photos, SMS, and Telegram and WhatsApp chat messages. Thirteen users -- all in India -- have been been compromised in the attacks, which have been detailed by Cisco Talos. Those infected use a range of iPhone models and are running iOS versions ranging from 10.2.1 to 11.2.6. The campaign has been active since August 2015. The attackers take control by using the MDM package, which can give attackers complete control of the device and the ability to install fake versions of real apps. Two different MDM services are used in the campaign, enabling system-level control of multiple devices from one location and the ability to install, remove and exfiltrate data from apps. One method of stealing data comes via malicious versions of messaging services like Telegram and WhatsApp being pushed onto the compromised device via fake updates. The apps look legitimate to the user, but malicious code sends information -- including messages, photos and contacts -- to a central command and control server. Deploying these apps requires a side-loading injection technique, which allows for the ability to ask for additional permissions, execute code and steal information from the original application.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Roku's New Wireless Speakers Automatically Turn Loud Commercials Down, Turn Show Audio Up

Slashdot -

Roku announced today that it's getting into the audio business with the launch of its in-house Roku TV Wireless Speakers. The two HomePod-esque speakers work exclusively (and wirelessly) with Roku TVs, and feature software that will optimize audio from anything connected to the pair Roku TV, including cable boxes, antennas, and Bluetooth devices. The company also announced a new Roku Touch tabletop remote that's similar to Amazon's Alexa. Ars Technica reports: "Optimized" in this sense refers to the software-improved audio quality: automatic volume leveling will boost lower audio in quiet scenes and lower audio in loud scenes (and in booming commercials), and dialogue enhancement will improve speech intelligibility. Accompanying the Wireless Speakers is the Roku Touch remote, a unique addition to Roku's remote family. The company has a standard remote that controls its set-top boxes and smart TVs, and it also has a voice remote that processes voice commands to search for and play specific types of content. The Touch remote is most like the voice remote, but it can be used almost anywhere in your home because it's wireless and runs on batteries. It has a number of buttons on its top that can play, pause, and skip content playing from your Roku TV, and some of those buttons are customizable so you can program your favorite presets to them. There's also a press-and-hold talk button that lets you speak commands to your TV, even if you're not in front of it. Roku's Wireless Speakers and Touch remote will begin shipping this October, and the company is running a deal leading up to the release. For the first week of presales (July 16 through July 23), a bundle consisting of two Wireless Speakers, a Touch remote, and a Roku voice remote will be available for $149. From the end of that week until October, the price will be $179. When the new devices finally come out, the bundle price will be $199.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Things Are Going From Bad To Worse For Apple In India

Slashdot -

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Quartz: Despite its increased focus on India, Apple is all set to see a slower year-on-year growth in iPhone sales in the country in 2018. "iPhone India sales were weak in the first half of 2018, and even if they show a big jump in the traditionally strong second half, Apple will still fall short of last year," Neil Shah, research director at market analytics firm Counterpoint Research, told Bloomberg. Apple has been struggling in India for some time now. In the year ended March 2017, its revenue growth fell to 17%, compared to 53% a year ago. This six-year-low growth was mainly due to a high base and a drop in the average selling price of each phone. Apple's biggest struggle in India has been its high price points. iPhones cost between Rs35,000 ($500) and Rs80,000 ($1,100) in India, compared to the average smartphone price of $157 in the country. Amid all this, the company is seeing a massive churn in its India leadership. Last December, India head Sanjay Kaul quit after a six-year stint. The company has now reportedly lost three more of its top executives, Bloomberg reported on July 15: national sales and distribution chief, Rahul Jain; head of commercial channels Jayant Gupta, and head of telecom carrier sales, Manish Sharma. The company is also overhauling its India sales team, Bloomberg said, quoting unidentified sources.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Apple Won't Replace Faulty MacBook Pro Keyboards With Third-Gen Components

Slashdot -

After determining that a "small percentage" of 2015-2017 MacBook and MacBook Pro keyboards may experience sticky keys, Apple initiated a Keyboard Service Program. The company has been servicing affected keyboards for free, but the fix doesn't guarantee the problem won't emerge again. The new 2018 MacBook Pros feature third-generation keyboards that are intended to prevent the keys from getting stuck. "For this reason, some customers have been hoping that Apple will start swapping out second-generation keyboards with third-generation keyboards, as part of its service program, but MacRumors has learned that isn't the plan." From the report: When asked if Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers will be permitted to replace second-generation keyboards on 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro models with the new third-generation keyboards, if necessary, Apple said, no, the third-generation keyboards are exclusive to the 2018 MacBook Pro. Hopefully, in that case, it means that Apple has quietly tweaked the second-generation keyboard to be more reliable. It wouldn't really make sense for Apple to replace keyboards with ones that are just as prone to break again, especially if the third-generation keyboards offer a fix. One possibility is that the third-generation keyboards aren't backwards compatible with 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro models to begin with. The keyboard is actually one part of a larger component called the "top case," which also has a glued-in battery, and the internal design could be tweaked in 2018 models.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Microsoft and National Geographic Team Up on AI Research Grant

Slashdot -

Microsoft and National Geographic are partnering on a new grant program that will put $1 million towards projects using AI to address environmental challenges. From a report: Between five and 15 projects will be selected as recipients of the AI for Earth Innovation Grant program and winning researchers will receive funding, access to Microsoft cloud and AI tools, inclusion in the National Geographic Explorer Community and affiliation with National Geographic Labs. "Microsoft is constantly exploring the boundaries of what technology can do, and what it can do for people and the world," Lucas Joppa, chief environmental scientist at Microsoft, said in a statement. "We believe that humans and computers, working together through AI, can change the way that society monitors, models and manages Earth's natural systems." In a similar vein, Google just announced a partnership with UN Environment that will provide real-time data to organizations and governments about the impact of human activity on ecosystems.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Uber Faces Federal Investigation Over Alleged Gender Discrimination

Slashdot -

According to The Wall Street Journal, Uber is being investigated by U.S. authorities over a complaint about gender discrimination (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source). The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is leading the investigation, which began last August but hasn't been previously reported. From the report: EEOC investigators have been interviewing former and current Uber employees as well as seeking documents from Uber officials, these people said. The investigators have been seeking information related to hiring practices, pay disparity and other matters as they relate to gender, one person said. Uber, which hopes to debut on the public markets sometime in the second half of next year, is already is facing at least five other federal investigations by multiple agencies into its pricing practices, accusations of bribery by Uber executives abroad, and its use of software designed to evade local officials tracking its operations, among other matters. The EEOC, tasked with enforcing federal laws against discrimination, generally responds to confidential complaints filed by workers against employers, and can file suit or seek private arbitration. Of roughly 90,000 complaints filed annually, a fraction result in a settlement or EEOC-led lawsuit. It is unclear whether the EEOC intends to take any action against Uber, which would be one of the agency's most prominent recent cases.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Amazon's Curious Case of the $2,630.52 Used Paperback

Slashdot -

Many booksellers on Amazon strive to sell their wares as cheaply as possible. That, after all, is usually how you make a sale in a competitive marketplace. Other merchants favor a counterintuitive approach: Mark the price up to the moon. From a report: "Zowie," the romance author Deborah Macgillivray wrote on Twitter last month after she discovered copies of her 2009 novel, "One Snowy Knight," being offered for four figures. One was going for "$2,630.52 & FREE Shipping," she noted. Since other copies of the paperback were being sold elsewhere on Amazon for as little as 99 cents, she was perplexed. "How many really sell at that price? Are they just hoping to snooker some poor soul?" Ms. Macgillivray wrote in an email. She noted that her blog had gotten an explosion in traffic from Russia. "Maybe Russian hackers do this in their spare time, making money on the side," she said. Amazon is by far the largest marketplace for both new and used books the world has ever seen, and is also one of the most inscrutable. The retailer directly sells some books, while others are sold by third parties. The wild pricing happens with the latter. [...] Third-party sellers, Guru Hariharan, chief executive of Boomerang Commerce, said, come in all shapes and sizes -- from well-respected national brands that are trying to maintain some independence from Amazon to entrepreneurial individuals who use Amazon's marketplace as an arbitrage opportunity. These sellers list products they have access to, adjusting price and inventory to drive profits. Then there are the wild pricing specialists, who sell both new and secondhand copies. "By making these books appear scarce, they are trying to justify the exorbitant price that they have set," said Mr. Hariharan, who led a team responsible for 15,000 online sellers when he worked at Amazon a decade ago. [...] A decade ago, Elisabeth Petry wrote a tribute to her mother, the renowned novelist Ann Petry. "At Home Inside," published by the University of Mississippi Press, is now out of print, but late last week secondhand copies were for sale on Amazon. A discarded library copy was $1,900. One seller offered two copies, each for $1,967, although only one was described as "Nice!" All these were a bargain compared with the copy that cost $2,464.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Jeff Bezos Becomes the Richest Man In Modern History, Topping $150 Billion

Slashdot -

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Jeff Bezos is the richest person in modern history. The Amazon founder's net worth broke $150 billion in New York on Monday morning, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. That's about $55 billion more than Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, the world's second-richest person. Bezos, 54, has now topped Gates in inflation-adjusted terms. The $100 billion mark that Gates hit briefly in 1999 at the height of the dot-com boom would be worth about $149 billion in today's dollars. That makes the Amazon chief executive officer richer than anyone else on earth since at least 1982, when Forbes published its inaugural wealth ranking. Bezos crossed the threshold just as Amazon prepares to kick off its 36-hour summer sales event, Prime Day. The company's share price was $1,825.73 at 11:10 a.m. in New York, extending its 2018 gain to 56 percent and giving Bezos a $150.8 billion fortune. A little more than a week ago, Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg overtook Warren Buffett to become the world's third-richest person.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Amazon Suffers Glitches at the Start of Prime Day

Slashdot -

It's not just you. Amazon Prime Day started 15 minutes ago, and so far, it's not going well for Amazon. From a report: The landing page for Prime Day does not work. When most links are clicked, readers are sent to an error page or to a landing page that sends readers back to the main landing page. Direct links to the product pages, either from outside links or the single product placement on the landing page, seem to work fine. This is a huge blow to Amazon and its faux holiday Prime Day. The retailer has been pushing this event for weeks and there are some great deals to be had. It's not a good look for the world's largest retailer. Both the desktop website and mobile app are facing glitches, users said. Prime Day, which began just now, is a 36-hour shopping event. CNBC reports: Some users saw an error page featuring the "dogs of Amazon" and were never able to enter the site. Some got caught in a loop of pages urging them to "Shop all deals." Clicking the entry link for a specific category returned the user to the first page urging them to "Shop all deals." Some users successfully added items to their cart, only to receive an error message when trying to checkout and complete the purchase. Business Insider reports that several customers are threatening Amazon that they would cancel their Prime membership if the company is unable to resolve the glitches soon. Bloomberg offers some context on the significance of the any outrages on Amazon's website today: Trouble on the site spiked when the event began at 3 p.m. Eastern time, according to Downdetector.com, which monitors web trouble. Shoppers were expected to spend $3.4 billion on the site during the event, up more than 40 percent from a year earlier, according to Coresight Research.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Study Suggests Buried Internet Infrastructure at Risk as Sea Levels Rise

Slashdot -

Thousands of miles of buried fiber optic cable in densely populated coastal regions of the United States may soon be inundated by rising seas, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Oregon. From a report: The study, presented Monday at a meeting of internet network researchers, portrays critical communications infrastructure that could be submerged by rising seas in as soon as 15 years, according to the study's senior author, Paul Barford, a UW-Madison professor of computer science. "Most of the damage that's going to be done in the next 100 years will be done sooner than later," says Barford, an authority on the "physical internet" -- the buried fiber optic cables, data centers, traffic exchanges and termination points that are the nerve centers, arteries and hubs of the vast global information network. "That surprised us. The expectation was that we'd have 50 years to plan for it. We don't have 50 years." The study, conducted with Barford's former student Ramakrishnan Durairajan, now of the University of Oregon, and Carol Barford, who directs UW-Madison's Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment, is the first assessment of risk of climate change to the internet. It suggests that by the year 2033 more than 4,000 miles of buried fiber optic conduit will be underwater and more than 1,100 traffic hubs will be surrounded by water. The most susceptible U.S. cities, according to the report, are New York, Miami and Seattle, but the effects would not be confined to those areas and would ripple across the internet, says Barford, potentially disrupting global communications.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Pages

Subscribe to Heydon Consulting aggregator