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Lawmakers Worry About Rise of Fake Video Technology

Slashdot -

Lawmakers are concerned that advances in video manipulation technology could set off a new era of fake news. Now legislators say they want to start working on fixes to the problem before it's too late. From a report: Technology experts have begun to sound the alarm on the new software, which lets users take existing videos and make high-quality altered video and audio that appears real. The emergence of the technology opens up a new world of hoaxes driven by doctored audio or video, and threatens to shake faith in the media even further. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), one of the most vocal members of Congress on tech issues, painted a grim picture about what the advances could mean for the future of discerning truth in media. "Since we can't rely on the responsibility of individual actors or the platforms they use, I fully expect there will be a proliferation of these sorts of fictions to a degree that nearly drowns out actual facts," Wyden told The Hill. "For those who value real information, there will still be some reliable publications and news outlets, and their credibility will need to be guarded all the more intently by professional journalists," he added.

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Enthusiasts have Turned the Nintendo Switch into a Functional Linux Tablet

Slashdot -

An anonymous reader shares a report: A couple of weeks ago, the fail0verflow hacking collective showed a still image on Twitter of a Nintendo Switch booting Linux. They're one of a small handful of hacker teams who are teasing exploits of the Nvidia Tegra hardware inside the Switch. But now fail0verflow has video of a full-on Linux distro running on the hacked Switch, complete with touchscreen support, a fully operational web browser, and even a GPU-powered demo application. On Twitter, fail0verflow claims the bug they're exploiting to sidestep the Switch's security can't be patched on currently released hardware, and doesn't require a modchip. But as for now there aren't any details on how to do this yourself at home.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Facebook VP of Ads Criticised For Tweeting that Russian-bought Ads Had Not Been Designed to Sway the US Election

Slashdot -

Facebook's vice-president of adverts has been criticised for tweeting that Russian-bought ads had not been designed to sway the US election. From a report: Rob Goldman's tweet was retweeted by President Donald Trump. His view contradicted special counsellor Robert Mueller's recent indictments, in which 13 Russians were charged with meddling in the election via social media and other means. Mr Goldman is reported to have apologised to Facebook staff. In a series of tweets, Mr Goldman said that Russia's misinformation activity had been designed to "divide America" but added that "the majority of the Russian ad spend [on Facebook] happened after the election." However according to the indictment, the ads were only part of Russia's activity on the social-media platform. In the document, Facebook is mentioned 35 times. According to Wired, he sent a message to staff that read: "I wanted to apologise for having tweeted my own view about Russian interference without having it reviewed by anyone internally. The tweets were my own personal view and not Facebook's. I conveyed my view poorly. The special counsel has far more information about what happened [than] I do -- so seeming to contradict his statements was a serious mistake on my part."

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CodeSOD: The Telltale Snippet

The Daily WTF -

True! nervous, very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses, not destroyed, not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How then am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily, how calmly I can tell you the whole story. - “The Telltale Heart” by Edgar Allen Poe

Today’s submitter credits themselves as Too Afraid To Say (TATS) who they are. Why? Because like a steady “thump thump” from beneath the floorboards, they are haunted by their crimes. The haunting continues to this very day.

It is impossible to say how the idea entered TATS’s brain, but as a fresh-faced junior developer, they set out to write a flexible web-control in JavaScript. What they wanted was to dynamically add items to the control. Each item was a set of fields- an ID, a tool tip, a description, etc.

Think about how you might pass a list of objects to a method.

ObjectLookupField.prototype._AddItems = function _AddItems(objItems) { if (objItems && objItems.length > 0) { var objItemIDs = []; var objTooltips = []; var objImages = []; var objTypes = []; var objDeleted = []; var objDescriptions = []; var objParentTreeCodes = []; var objHasChilderen = []; var objPath = []; var objMarked = []; var objLocked = []; var blnSkip; for (var intI = 0; intI < objItems.length; intI++) { objItemIDs.push(objItems[intI].ID); objImages.push((objItems[intI].TypeIconURL ? objItems[intI].TypeIconURL : objItems[intI].IconURL)); objTooltips.push(objItems[intI].Tooltip ? objItems[intI].Tooltip : ''); objTypes.push(objItems[intI].TypeID); objDescriptions.push(objItems[intI].Description); objParentTreeCodes.push(objItems[intI].ParentTreeCode); objMarked.push(objItems[intI].Marked ? 'Marked' : ''); objLocked.push(objItems[intI].Locked); // SNIP, not really related } //TATS also implemented `addItems` which requires all these arrays window[this._strControlID].addItems([objItemIDs, objImages, objPath, objTooltips, objLocked, objMarked, objParentTreeCodes, objHasChilderen]); } }

TATS used the infamous “Arrject” pattern. Instead of having a list of objects, where each object has all of the fields it needs, the Arrject pattern has one array per field, and then we’ll hope that each index holds all the related data for a given item. For example:

arrNames = {"Joebob", "Sallybob", "Suebob"}; arrAddresses = {"123 Street St", "234 Road Rd", "345 Lane Ln"}; arrPhones = {"555-1234", "555-2345", "555-3456"};

The 0th index of every array contains everything you want to know about Joebob.

Most uses of the Arrject pattern end up in code that doesn’t use objects at all, but TATS adds their own little twist. They explode an object into a set of arrays, and then pass those arrays to their own method which creates the necessary DOM elements.

TATS smiled, for what did they have to fear? They bade the senior developers welcome: use my code. And they did.

Before long, this little bit of code propagated throughout their entire codebase; copied, pasted, dropped in, loaded as a JS dependency, hosted on a private CDN. It was everywhere. Time passed, and careers changed. TATS got promoted up to senior. Other seniors left and handed their code off to TATS. And that’s when the thumping beneath the floorboards became intolerable. That is why they are “Too Afraid to Say”. This little ghost, this reminder of their mistakes as a junior dev is always there, waiting beneath their feet, and it keeps. getting. louder.

“Villains!” I shrieked, “dissemble no more! I admit the deed!—tear up the planks!—here, here!—it is the beating of his hideous heart!”

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Marvel Cinematic Universe Has a CGI Problem

Slashdot -

Corey Hutchinson, writing for ScreenRant: The MCU may be the biggest thing in Hollywood these days, but there's no denying that its overuse of CGI is becoming more and more noticeable. Don't get us wrong; for the most part, the MCU's CGI has been great, even spectacular at times. Even at its worst, it's nowhere near the bottom of the pile in terms of poor special effects in superhero movies. And no single MCU entry has come anywhere close to the awfulness that is Justice League. But when a superhero franchise is pulling in this much money and getting consistently glowing reviews, the bar has to be set high, and several of the MCU's latest offerings just aren't clearing it. It's worth noting that the MCU's CGI shortcomings are a relatively recent thing. There's very little to complain about when it comes to the special effects behind their Phase One movies. They all hold up surprising well, in fact, and the same goes for the vast majority of Marvel's Phase Two films. There's a few dicey moments in Avengers: Age of Ultron, but it wasn't really until Captain America: Civil War kicked off Phase Three that any negative attention was paid to the MCU's effects work. Take a moment to rewatch the second Black Panther clip that was released to the public a few weeks ago. Specifically, hone in on the 45 second mark, where you see Nakia shooting two guys, the second of which is very obviously computer-generated. Why the hell would they even bother to CGI that, you ask?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Appnovation Technologies: Customizing displays and templates in D8

Drupal Planet -

Customizing displays and templates in D8 Drupal is really good at allowing the user (developer) manipulate its data. It’s very common to override templates for nodes and views in D7, but in Drupal 8, it’s been made even easier to override templates at every level.  I found I was writing a lot less pre-processors on a D8 project versus D7.  On a recent project, and I’m sure the ma...

Apple Updates All of Its Operating Systems To Fix App-crashing Bug

Slashdot -

It took a few days, but Apple already has a fix out for a bug that caused crashes on each of its platforms. From a report: The company pushed new versions of iOS, macOS and watchOS to fix the issue, which was caused when someone pasted in or received a single Indian-language character in select communications apps -- most notably in iMessages, Safari and the app store. Using a specific character in the Telugu language native to India was enough to crash a variety of chat apps, including iMessage, WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook Messenger, Gmail and Outlook, though Telegram and Skype were seemingly immune.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Sony May Launch an AI-powered Taxi Hailing System

Slashdot -

Sony definitely isn't the first name you think of when you're looking for a ride, but that might change soon in its native Japan. From a report: Nikkei has learned that the tech heavyweight is leading an alliance of taxi companies (Checker Cab, Daiwa Motor Transportation, Green Cab, Hinomaru Kotsu and Kokusai Motorcars) in the creation of an AI-powered hailing platform. The algorithmic system would dispatch taxis more effectively by studying a host of conditions like traffic, weather and events. It might send a horde of drivers near the end of a concert, for instance.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Matt Glaman: Open Source: Community and Opportunity

Drupal Planet -

Open Source: Community and Opportunity mglaman Mon, 02/19/2018 - 21:35

DrupalCamp London is coming around the corner! If you have the chance to go, I highly recommend it. The organizers put on a top-notch event. Last year I had the privilege of giving my first keynote at the conference. I firmly believe that open source is a creator of opportunity. There is no such thing as free software. In open source, we donate our time to provide software that has no monetary cost. This lowers the barrier to entry by removing a layer economic limitations.

Ocean-wide Sensor Array Provides New Look at Global Ocean Current

Slashdot -

An anonymous reader shares a Nature article: The North Atlantic Ocean is a major driver of the global currents that regulate Earth's climate, mix the oceans and sequester carbon from the atmosphere -- but researchers haven't been able to get a good look at its inner workings until now. The first results from an array of sensors strung across this region reveal that things are much more complicated than scientists previously believed. Researchers with the Overturning in the Subpolar North Atlantic Program (OSNAP) presented their findings this week at an ocean science meeting in Portland, Oregon. With nearly two years of data from late 2014 to 2016, the team found that the strength of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation -- which pumps warm surface water north and returns colder water at depth -- varies with the winds and the seasons, transporting an average of roughly 15.3 million cubic metres of water per second. The measurements are similar in magnitude to those from another array called RAPID, which has been operating between Florida and the Canary Islands since 2004. But scientists say they were surprised by how much the currents measured by the OSNAP array varied over the course of two years.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Chrome 64 Now Trims Messy Links When You Share Them

Slashdot -

Google's latest consumer version of Chrome, version number 64, just started cleaning up messy referral links for you. From a report: Now, when you go to share an item, you'll no longer see a long tracking string after a link, just the primary link itself. This feature now happens automatically when sharing links in Chrome, either by the Share menu or by copying the link and pasting it elsewhere. Even though it slices off the extra bit of the URL, this doesn't affect referral information. If you choose, you can copy and paste directly from the URL bar to grab the link in entirety.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

frobiovox.com: Why DrupalCon

Drupal Planet -

Collaboration and Contribution at DrupalCon Drupal is the most flexible general purpose Content Management System on the market today—Open Source or not. Using Drupal enables us to provide a cost effective and flexible platform for our clients, while contributing to Drupal allows us to ensure it remains the most flexible general purpose Content Management System. As contributing to Drupal is the job of the Drupal Community, it’s essential that Drupal...

DrupalEasy: Learning Made Easier Leveraging Drupal's Social Construct

Drupal Planet -

When I walk along with two others, from at least one I will be able to learn.   – Confucius

Drupal development as a career is usually also a commitment to constant learning through ongoing professional development.  Whether you make it a point to read blog posts or watch screencasts, sign up for some type of live-instructor training, or partake in co-working and meet-ups, on-going learning is a critical piece to being a professional Drupal  developer. Years ago, when DrupalEasy was presenting our Drupal Career Technical Education program exclusively in-person (now Drupal Career Online), the lab-portion (where we met in a less formal way than classroom sessions) became so popular with students, that we decided to continue to host them after graduation for anyone who had taken the class.

Six years later, these "office hours"are still going strong, now online and attended by people weekly from all over the country. It’s amazing to see the developers who first learned how to spell Drupal years ago in our riverside classroom in Cocoa, Florida; now the veterans assisting and connecting with those from recent sessions. People from former sessions, even those who attend at different times, also support each other beyond the labs, which has all contributed to the development of, what we think, is a pretty cool DrupalEasy Learning Community.

Weekly on Thursday afternoons U.S. Eastern Time, you can find DrupalEasy’s Mike Anello leading Go-To-Meeting ofice hours sessions, which are open to anyone who is enrolled in, or has taken any long-form DrupalEasy training courses. It’s a loose session devoted to helping anyone overcome issues, figure out how to approach something, share insights on particular modules and also talk Drupal. Learning experts call this collaborative learning, and it has even more advantages than we realized, which explains why it is so popular and seemingly effective as both an initial learning strategy and ongoing professional development tool. Everyone learns (Even Mike).

The Cornell University Center for Teaching Innovation explains that  “Collaborative learning is based on the view that knowledge is a social construct.”  (Wow, that relates to Drupal and open source projects on so many levels!)  They also explain that there are four principles to the ways collaborative learning happens, including that those who are learning are the primary focus, it is important to “do” and not just listen, working in groups is key, and the group should be learning by developing solutions to real problems.  

DrupalEasy’s learning community organically grew and developed all of these principles over the years, which is a pretty good confirmation that from both learning and solutions perspectives, we are on the right track. At the onset of each week’s office hours session, we say our hellos and figure out the first problem someone is having, or had, and the group works together to come up with a solution. There is of course also a bit of Nerd banter that keeps things fun and allows us to get to know each other a bit more. Cornell’s experts also confirm that group learning contributes to developing a lot of the soft skills (oral communication, leadership,etc.) that can help make a good developer great. We agree!

We also especially appreciate the value of the problem-solving approach to teaching, and also use it in our structured training. Cornell again has some great insight into the types and characteristics of problem solving as a mode of teaching that really resonates with us. They go in pretty broad and deep with references and explanations, so let’s pull the one element they cite that we feel we can attribute a good part of the success of our programs: “The problem is what drives the motivation and the learning.” (Boom!)  

So, knowledge is a social construct and problems motivate us to learn and figure out solutions. Working together as a community to overcome problems and build viable solutions. It’s all very Drupal-y, don’t you think?

The next session of Drupal Career Online begins March 26th. Two no-cost Taste-of-Drupal information sessions about the course are coming up at 1:30pm EST on February 28 and March 14.  Sign up!

 

[$] BPF comes to firewalls

LWN Headlines -

The Linux kernel currently supports two separate network packet-filtering mechanisms: iptables and nftables. For the last few years, it has been generally assumed that nftables would eventually replace the older iptables implementation; few people expected that the kernel developers would, instead, add a third packet filter. But that would appear to be what is happening with the newly announced bpfilter mechanism. Bpfilter may eventually replace both iptables and nftables, but there are a lot of questions that will need to be answered first.

Microsoft Finally Documents the Limitations of Windows 10 on ARM

Slashdot -

For over a year we've been treated to the fantasy that Windows 10 on ARM was the same as Windows 10 on x86. But it's a bit more nuanced than that. Paul Thurrott: 64-bit apps will not work. Yes, Windows 10 on ARM can run Windows desktop applications. But it can only run 32-bit (x86) desktop applications, not 64-bit (x64) applications. (The documentation doesn't note this, but support for x64 apps is planned for a future release.) Certain classes of apps will not run. Utilities that modify the Windows user interface -- like shell extensions, input method editors (IMEs), assistive technologies, and cloud storage apps -- will not work in Windows 10 on ARM. It cannot use x86 drivers. While Windows 10 on ARM can run x86 Windows applications, it cannot utilize x86 drivers. Instead, it will require native ARM64 drivers instead. This means that hardware support will be much more limited than is the case with mainstream Windows 10 versions. In other words, it will likely work much like Windows 10 S does today. No Hyper-V. Older games and graphics apps may not work. Windows 10 on ARM supports DirectX 9, DirectX 10, DirectX 11, and DirectX 12, but apps/games that target older versions will not work. Apps that require hardware-accelerated OpenGL will also not work.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

How UPS Delivers Faster Using $8 Headphones and Code That Decides When Dirty Trucks Get Cleaned

Slashdot -

With Amazon's imminent plans to launch a low-cost package delivery service, UPS is about to face intense competition from a company with top customer-tracking capabilities and even artificial-intelligence expertise. To tackle it, the company is turning to advances analytics. From a report: In 2016, it began collecting data across its facilities. Today there are about 25 projects based on that data, grouped under the acronym EDGE (which stands for "enhanced dynamic global execution"). The program has sparked changes in everything from how workers place packages inside delivery trucks in the morning to how the vast army of temporary hires that UPS recruits during the busy holiday season are trained. Eventually, data will even dictate when UPS vehicles get washed. The company expects to save $200 million to $300 million a year once the program is fully deployed. [...] Another project tells seasonal workers where to direct the outbound packages that UPS vehicles pick up throughout the day and bring to the company's sorting facilities. UPS hires nearly 100,000 of these workers from November through January. Typically, these people would need to memorize hundreds of zip codes to know where to place parcels, but last winter UPS outfitted about 2,500 of them with scanning devices and $8 Bluetooth headphones that issue one-word directions, such as "Green," "Red," or "Blue." The colors correspond to specific conveyor belts, which then transport the packages to other parts of the building for further processing.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Vietnam's Internet is in Trouble

Slashdot -

The World Post: Vietnamese authorities have harped of late on the urgency of fighting cybersecurity threats and "bad and dangerous content." Yet the fight against either "fake news" or misinformation in Vietnam must not be used as a smoke screen for stifling dissenting opinions and curtailing freedom of speech [The link may be paywalled]. Doing so would only further stoke domestic cynicism in a country where the sudden expansion of space for free and open discussion has created a kind of high-pressure catharsis online. Other countries, including democratic states, are also scrambling to rein in toxic information online. But while Germany, for example, specifically targets hate speech and other extremist messaging that directly affects the masses, Vietnamese leaders are more fixated on content deemed detrimental to their own reputation and the survival of the regime. The ruling Communist Party of Vietnam has repeatedly urged Facebook and Google to block "toxic" information that it said slandered and defamed Vietnamese leaders. Google sort of conformed by removing more than such 5,000 clips; Facebook also flagged about 160 anti-government accounts at the behest of the government.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Flight Sim Company Embeds Malware To Steal Pirates' Passwords

Slashdot -

TorrentFreak: Flight sim company FlightSimLabs has found itself in trouble after installing malware onto users' machines as an anti-piracy measure. Code embedded in its A320-X module contained a mechanism for detecting 'pirate' serial numbers distributed on The Pirate Bay, which then triggered a process through which the company stole usernames and passwords from users' web browsers.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Virgin Hyperloop One is Coming To India

Slashdot -

Hyperloop is coming to India. From a report: The western-central Indian state of Maharashta plans to build a Virgin Hyperloop track between Pune and Mumbai, British entrepreneur and Virgin boss Richard Branson announced on Monday in a blog post. Virgin Hyperloop One will start by building a demo track, with the aim of eventually supporting 150 million passenger trips per year. It should reduce the 2.5-hour car journey or 3-hour train journey between the two cities to just 25 minutes, and will also stop off at Mumbai airport.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Microsoft Stops Pushing Notifications To Windows 7 and 8 Phones

Slashdot -

The end of Microsoft's Windows Phone project has been a long time coming, and now there's another nail in the coffin. From a report: Microsoft is ending support for all push notifications for Windows Phone 7.5 and Windows Phone 8.0 starting Tuesday, February 20th. According to Microsoft's blog post, in addition to the discontinuation of push notifications, live tiles will no longer be updated and the find my phone feature will not work. It's important to note that this doesn't apply to newer devices.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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