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Amazon's New Kindle Is Only $80, Comes In White, and With More Storage

Found the $290 Kindle Oasis too expensive? Amazon has a new, familiar e-reader for you. On Wednesday, the e-commerce giant announced a new, more-affordable Kindle that is pretty much identical to the Kindle Paperwhite, but costs only $80. It comes in white as well as black, and has 512MB storage space (the Kindle Paperwhite sport a 256MB internal storage chip). From an Ars Technica report:In addition to the extra memory, the $80 Kindle will have a slightly thinner, lighter, and more rounded design than its predecessors. It will have a touchscreen display as well, but it won't be the 300 PPI screen that the $120 Kindle Paperwhite has (it will sport a 167 PPI display instead). Some reports also suggest that the new Kindle will come with Bluetooth support so blind readers can hook up a pair of wireless headphones to listen to books, along with a note-sending feature that will let you send yourself messages and highlights, which can be exported as PDFs or spreadsheets.

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'Headphone Jacks Are the New Floppy Drives'

According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple's upcoming iPhone won't have a 3.5mm headphone jack. The news has already upset many people. The Verge's Nilay Patel wrote on Tuesday that the decision of getting rid of the legacy headphone port is "user hostile and stupid." Apple commentator John Gruber makes a case for why Apple's supposed move is not a bad idea at all. He writes:Patel misses the bigger problem. It's not enforcement of DRM on audio playback. It's enforcement of the MFi Program for certifying hardware that uses the Lightning port. Right now any headphone maker in the world can make any headphones they want for the standard jack. Not so with the Lightning port.He adds that the existing analog headphone jack "is more costly in terms of depth than thickness," and by getting rid of it, Apple could use the extra real estate to stuff in more battery juice. Addressing Patel's point that the move of ditching a deeply established standard will "disproportionately impact accessibility," Gruber adds that "enabling, open, and democratizing" have never been high on Apple's list of priorities for external ports. Gruber also addressed Patel's argument that introducing a Lightning Port-enabled headphone feature will make Android and iPhone headphones incompatible. He wrote: Why would Apple care about headphone compatibility with Android? If Apple gave two shits about port compatibility with Android, iPhones would have Micro-USB ports. In 1998 people used floppy drives extensively for sneaker-netting files between Macs and PCs. That didn't stop Apple from dropping it.As for "nobody is asking" Apple to remove headphone jack from the next iPhone, Gruber reminds: This is how it goes. If it weren't for Apple we'd probably still be using computers with VGA and serial ports. The essence of Apple is that they make design decisions "no one asked for".The 3.5mm headphone jack has been around for decades. We can either live with it forever, or try doing something better instead. History suggests that OEMs from across the world quickly replicate Apple's move. Just the idea of Apple removing the headphone jack -- the rumor of which first began last year -- arguably played an instrumental role in some smartphones shipping without the legacy port this year. If this is a change that we really need, Apple is perhaps the best company to set the tone for it. Though, whether we really need to get rid of the headphone jack remains debatable.

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Opera Denies Microsoft Edge Battery-Saving Claims

An anonymous reader writes: According to the makers of the Opera browser, Microsoft's recent claim that its Windows 10 Edge browser is more power-efficient than Chrome are erroneous. Running its own tests with Opera, Edge and Chrome, the company finds that Opera runs 22% faster (with a battery life of 3hr 55m) than Edge (3hrs 12m). In Microsoft's own tests, Google's Chrome browser was the first to completely exhaust the battery, closely followed by Firefox and Opera. In May, Opera added a power-saving mode, but any advantage it can be verified to have in the energy-efficiency stakes may be more due to the native adblocking feature it introduced this year.

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Mark Zuckerberg Tapes Over His Webcam. Should You?

Remember when FBI's director James Comey was spotted using a piece of tape over the camera on his laptop? At the time, Comey noted that he started doing it after he saw a person "smarter" than him do it as well. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg apparently also puts a tape over his webcam. Zuckerberg posted an image on Facebook yesterday, celebrating Instagram's big milestone of hitting 500 million monthly active users. In the background, we can see that his laptop has a tape over the webcam, as well as something around the microphone port. From a report on The Guardian: Even experts who don't cover their cameras think they should. Why doesn't Matthew Green, an encryption expert at Johns Hopkins University? "Because I'm an idiot," he said. "I have no excuse for not taking this seriously ... but at the end of the day, I figure that seeing me naked would be punishment enough." While Zuckerberg probably does have any number of advanced persistent threats trying to break his digital security, normal people shouldn't be too complacent either. Installing backdoors on compromised computers is a common way for some hackers to occupy their time.On an unrelated note, it appears, Zuckerberg uses Mozilla's Thunderbird as his primary email client.

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Microsoft Launches NFC Payments For Windows 10 Phones

Microsoft has finally added support for NFC payments to its mobile operating system Windows 10 Mobile. The company this week introduced the feature in an update to Microsoft Wallet app. Users will now be able to make mobile payments with their MasterCard or Visa accounts. The feature is now available to eligible Windows 10 Mobile handset users who are part of Windows Insiders program. Other users will get it with Windows 10 Anniversary Update in a few months. From a blog post on NFC World: Supporting banks and credit unions include Bank of America, BECU, Chase, First Tech, Fifth Third Bank, People's United Bank, US Bank and Virginia Credit Union. The launch date for each bank will be "posted when available," according to Microsoft. "Microsoft Wallet is a cloud-based payment technology that will make mobile payments simple and more secure for Windows 10 Mobile devices, starting in the US with our Lumia 950, 950 XL and 650," the company says. "With Microsoft Wallet, you simply tap your phone on a contactless payment terminal and your default credit or debit card is charged.

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Kernel of iOS 10 Preview Is Not Encrypted -- Nobody Knows Why

Security experts are claiming that iOS 10 preview, which Apple made available to enthusiasts last week, is not secure. iOS 10 is the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system. It will be available to standard customers later this year (likely around September). According to security experts, iOS 10's kernel is not encrypted. MIT News reports: Why Apple has suddenly opened up its code is unclear. One hypothesis in the security community is that, as author Jonathan Levin puts it, someone inside the company "screwed up royally." But he and security researcher Mathew Solnik both say there are reasons to think it may have been intentional. Encouraging more people to pore over the code could result in more bugs being disclosed to Apple so that it can fix them.

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LeBron James Used A Steve Jobs Speech To Motivate The Cavs To Victory

An anonymous reader quotes a report from BGR: Well, LeBron James finally accomplished what he set out to do when he announced his triumphant return to the Cleveland Cavaliers 2014: he brought an NBA championship to Cleveland. Going into the NBA Finals, the Cavaliers were clear underdogs. And once the Cavs went down three games to one, the odds in Vegas that LeBron and co. could take back the series were as high as +900. Looking back at the Cavaliers' historic championship run and odds-defying victory, ESPN has a fascinating piece up detailing how LeBron sought to find every and anything that could help motivate his teammates and help them believe that an unprecedented comeback was indeed within the realm of possibility. And interestingly enough, one of the sources of inspiration James turned to was Steve Jobs. Specifically, James played portions of Steve Jobs' iconic 2005 Stanford University commencement speech to rally the troops ahead of game 3. "You can't connect the dots looking forward," Jobs passionately said, "you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something -- your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life." You can watch Jobs' aforementioned speech in its entirety here on YouTube.

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Interview With A Craigslist Scammer

snydeq writes: Ever wonder what motivates people who swindle others on Craigslist? Roger Grimes did, so he set up a fake Harley Davidson ad on Craigslist and requested an interview with each scammer who replied to the ad. One agreed, and the man's answers shed light on the inner world of Craigslist scamming: "If you mean how often I make money from Craigslist, it depends on the day or week. Many weeks I make nothing. Some weeks I can get five people sending me money. But I respond to a lot of ads to get one email back. I'm not only doing Craigslist -- there are many similar places. I haven't counted, but many. It takes many emails to get paid. That's what I mean. Some weeks I lose money. It's harder than most people think. But I don't have to go into a place at a certain time and deal with bosses and customers. I can make my own time." Grimes asked the scammer a number of questions ranging from "How do you know when you have a good victim?" to "What country do you originate from?" and everything in-between. He ended the interview asking the scammer for any words of advice for readers. The scammer responded: "It's getting harder for business people like me to be successful, but if they [the victims] follow the rules it would be very hard for me to be successful. That's one of the surprises. My friends and I thought we would not be successful for so long, especially with how Craigslist is different now. But there is always someone looking to sell something who doesn't know the game."

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Australian 'Bitcoin Founder' Quietly Bidding For Patent Empire

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: Craig Wright, the Australian who claimed to be the inventor of bitcoin, is attempting to build a large patent portfolio around the digital currency and technology underpinning it, according to associates of his and documents reviewed by Reuters. Since February, Wright has filed more than 50 patent applications in Britain through Antigua-registered EITC Holdings Ltd, which a source close to the company confirmed was connected to Wright, government records show. Interviews with sources close to EITC Holdings Ltd, which has two of Wright's associates as directors, confirmed it was still working on filing patent applications and Britain's Intellectual Property Office has published another 11 patent applications filed by the company in the past week. The granting of even some of the patents would be significant for banking and other industries that are trying to exploit bitcoin technologies, as well as dozens of start-ups scurrying to build business models based around it. Patents that Wright has applied for range from a mechanism for paying securely for online content to an operating system for running an "internet of things" on blockchain. A patent schedule, one of a number of documents relating to the applications shown to Reuters by a person close to the EITC Holdings, outlines plans to apply for about 400 in total.

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MSI and ASUS Accused of Sending Reviewers Overpowered Graphics Cards

An anonymous reader writes from a report via The Verge: TechPowerUp discovered that the MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Gaming X card they were sent for review was running at faster GPU and memory clock speeds than the retail version. This was because the review card was set to operate in the OC (overclocking) mode out of the box, whereas the retail card runs in the more regular Gaming mode out of the box. This may result in an unobservant reviewer accidentally misrepresenting the OC performance numbers as the stock results from the card, lending MSI's product an unearned helping hand. The site found this was a recurring pattern with MSI stretching back for years. Fellow Taiwanese manufacturer ASUS, in spite of having better global name recognition and reputation, has also show itself guilty of preprogramming review cards with an extra overclocking boost. Needless to say, the only goal of such actions is to deceive -- both the consumer and the reviewer -- though perhaps some companies have felt compelled to follow suit after the trend was identified among competitors. The Verge notes that TechPowerUp revealed its finding on Thursday of last week, and has not received any official response from either MSI or ASUS. They did update their story to note that MSI addressed the matter, in a comment provided to HardOCP Editor-in-Chief Kyle Bennett, back in 2014.

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Indie Dev TinyBuild Lost $450K To Fraudulent Sales Facilitated By G2A

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Paste Magazine: Indie developer TinyBuild, the studio behind Punch Club, Party Hard and SpeedRunners, had thousands of their game codes stolen through fraudulent credit card purchases, which then wound up on G2A.com, a site that allows people to resell game codes. The basic idea behind G2A is straightforward and pretty harmless: with the amount of game codes sold through Steam, the Humble Store/Bundle, and more, the site gives consumers a place to sell unwanted game codes. However, in doing so, G2A has created a huge black market for game codes sales. As TinyBuild described in their blog post on the matter, the common practice for scammers is to "get ahold of a database of stolen credit cards on the dark web. Go to a bundle/3rd party key reseller and buy a ton of game keys. Put them up onto G2A and sell them at half the retail price." This allows scammers to make thousands of dollars while preventing any profit from reaching the game developers because, once the stolen credit cards are processed, the payments will be denied. G2A states that TinyBuild's retail partners are the ones selling the codes on G2A, not scammers, despite the thousands of codes they lost through their online store to fraudulent credit card purchases. In 2011, TinyBuild was in the news for uploading their own game, a platformer called No Time To Explain, to the Pirate Bay.

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3 Million Strong Botnet Grows Right Under Twitter's Nose

An anonymous reader writes: Somebody created a botnet of three million Twitter accounts in one single day, and Twitter staff didn't even flinch -- even if the huge 35.4 registrations/second should have caught the eye of any IT staffer. Another weird particularity is that the botnet was also synchronized to use Twitter usernames similar to Twitter IDs. Couple this with a gap of 168 million IDs before and after the botnet's creation, it appears that someone specifically reserved those IDs. The IDs were reserved in October 2013, but the botnet was registered in April 2014 (except 2 accounts registered in March 2014). It's like Twitter's registration process skipped 168 million IDs, and someone came back a few months later and used them. [Softpedia reports:] "The botnet can be found at @sfa_200xxxxxxx, where xxxxxxx is a number that increments from 0 000 000 to 2 999 999. All accounts have a similar structure. They have "name" instead of the Twitter profile handle, display the same registration date, and feature the text "some kinda description" in the profile bio field. Additionally, there are also two smaller botnets available as well. One can be found between @cas_2050000000 and @cas_2050099999. Sadbottrue says it was registered between March 3 and March 5, 2015. The second is between @wt_2050100000 and @wt_2050199999, and was registered between October 23 and November 22, 2014." Both have 100,000 accounts each. Theoretically, these types of botnets can be used for malware C and C servers, Twitter spam, or to sell fake Twitter followers. At 3 million bots, the botnet accounts for 1% of Twitter's monthly active users.

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DNC Hacker Releases Clinton Foundation Documents

An anonymous reader writes: Following a report that Russian hackers penetrated the DNC's database, a hacker, who identifies himself as "Guccifer 2.0" after a popular Romanian hacker who hacked various American political figures, most notably Hillary Clinton and her private server, has published documents on Tuesday that he says came from the party's digital files. The documents detail Clinton's weaknesses as a candidate, and include a collection of negative press clips about the Clinton Foundation and a list of defenses against attacks on her private email use. Washington Examiner reports: "Another document, titled '2016 Democrats Positions Cheat Sheet,' listed major policy issues and indicated where Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O'Malley, Jim Webb, Lincoln Chaffee, Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden -- all former or possible rivals for the Democratic nomination -- stood on each issue." The documents contain information ranging from how the Clinton Foundation and its allies should respond to criticisms of the Clinton Foundation's revenue sources to how Chelsea Clinton wasn't able to answer questions about Clinton Foundation donations and other instances in which Bill Clinton was called a "sexual predator" for his past indiscretions. Even though the cybersecurity breach was blamed on the Russian government, the Kremlin has denied any involvement. The DNC also has yet to confirm or deny the authenticity of the leaked documents.

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Taking the Headphone Jack Off Phones Is User-Hostile and Stupid

A WSJ report on Tuesday claimed that the next iPhone won't have the 3.5mm headphone port. A handful of smartphones such as LeEco's Le 2, Le 2 Pro, and Le Max 2 that have launched this year already don't have a headphone jack. The Verge's Nilay Patel has an opinion piece in which he argues that smartphone companies shouldn't ditch headphone ports as it helps no consumer. He lists six reasons: 1. Digital audio means DRM audio :Restricting audio output to a purely digital connection means that music publishers and streaming companies can start to insist on digital copyright enforcement mechanisms. We moved our video systems to HDMI and got HDCP, remember? Copyright enforcement technology never stops piracy and always hurts the people who most rely on legal fair use, but you can bet the music industry is going to start cracking down on "unauthorized" playback and recording devices anyway.2. Wireless headphones and speakers are fine, not great. 3. Dongles are stupid, especially when they require other dongles.4. Ditching a deeply established standard will disproportionately impact accessibility.:The headphone jack might be less good on some metrics than Lightning or USB-C audio, but it is spectacularly better than anything else in the world at being accessible, enabling, open, and democratizing. A change that will cost every iPhone user at least $29 extra for a dongle (or more for new headphones) is not a change designed to benefit everyone.5. Making Android and iPhone headphones incompatible is incredibly arrogant and stupid.6. No one is asking for this.

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Apple Starts To Shell Out $400 Million To Customers In eBook Settlement

An anonymous reader writes: Starting today, millions of e-book purchasers will get either credits or checks for twice their losses, said legal firm Hagens Berman, which helped litigate the class action lawsuit. CNET reports: "Apple is on the hook for $400 million in damages plus an additional $30 million to pay the legal fees for Hagens Berman and $20 million to the state attorney generals who became involved in the case. On an individual basis, each plaintiff in the suit will receive $1.57 in credit for most e-books they bought and a $6.93 credit for every e-book purchased that was on the New York Times bestseller list. Consumers who purchased e-books from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and Apple between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012 are eligible to receive credits deposited directly in their accounts or checks sent through the mail. In August 2011, a lawsuit filed by two individuals accused Apple of conspiring to fix e-book prices with five publishers: Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, Holtzbrinck Publishers, Penguin Group and Simon and Schuster. The DoJ and the attorneys general of several states joined in with their own suits against the publishers. The lawsuits charged that the actions of Apple and the publishers prevented other e-book sellers from competing on price, thereby increasing the prices that consumers had to pay for e-books. After being found guilty of violating antitrust laws by a U.S. District Judge in 2013 and by an Appeals court in 2015, Apple's request for an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was denied this past March, forcing it to settle with the plaintiffs."

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Elon Musk's Tesla Plans To Acquire Elon Musk's SolarCity For $2.7B In Stock

An anonymous reader writes from a report via TechCrunch: Today, Elon Musk's electric car and battery company Tesla has announced its offer to buy solar panel installation company SolarCity. Now is a better time than ever to acquire SolarCity, as it recently had its value downgraded. If Tesla does acquire SolarCity, the companies could allow you to outfit your home with solar panels that power a giant battery for your various appliances, such as an electric vehicle. The deal, which has yet to be approved by SolarCity and its board, involves SolarCity's stock being exchanged for Tesla stock. TechCrunch reports that "the deal would pay a premium of 21% to 30% on top of SolarCity's value of $2.14 billion, so Tesla would be buying SolarCity for between $2.59 billion and $2.78 billion worth of its stock." The Tesla team writes, "It's now time to complete the picture. Tesla customers can drive clean cars and they can use our battery packs to help consume energy more efficiently, but they still need access to the most sustainable energy source that's available: the sun." Elon Musk has also been in the news today through OpenAI, the artificial-intelligence non-profit backed by Elon Musk, Amazon Web Services and others. OpenAI announced it is working on creating a physical robot that performs household chores.

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Online Backup Firm Carbonite Tells Users To Change Their Passwords Now

Security reporter Graham Cluley writes:Online backup company Carbonite is the latest firm to have issued a warning that hackers are attempting to break into its users accounts, and are prompting all users to change their passwords as a result. An email has been sent to Carbonite users explaining that the attackers are thought to be using passwords gleaned from other recent mega-breaches. "Based on our security reviews, there is no evidence to suggest that Carbonite has been hacked or compromised," the email reads. "To ensure the protection of all our customers and the safety of their data, we are requiring all Carbonite customers to reset their login information."Instructions to assist you with changing your password is here.

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74% of Netflix Subscribers Would Rather Cancel Their Subscription Than See Ads

An anonymous reader writes: AllFlicks conducted a survey of more than 1,200 people on Reddit, asking them a series of questions regarding ads on Netflix. "Would you rather pay more for Netflix or see advertisements while you stream?" they asked. Of more than 1,200 respondents, an incredible 90% said they'd prefer a price hike to ads. "The sweet spot appears to be $1-2 [more], which 57% of respondents chose as their upper bound. A further 22% said they could go as high as $2-3 more, and less than a quarter were willing to go higher." The next question they asked: "If Netflix started showing ads, would you cancel your subscription?" Nearly 74% said they'd be done with Netflix if ads debuted on the service. AllFlicks writes, "Netflix's users are sending the service a pretty clear message: if the service starts selling ads, customers would consider leaving." In early May, CordCutting.com crunched some numbers and found that each Netflix subscriber saves themselves about 158.5 hours of commercials per year.

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Elon Musk's Open Source OpenAI: We're Working On a Robot For Your Household Chores

An anonymous reader writes from a report via ZDNet: OpenAI, the artificial-intelligence non-profit backed by Elon Musk, Amazon Web Services, and others, is working on creating a physical robot that performs household chores. In a blog post Monday, OpenAI leaders said they don't want to manufacture the robot itself, but "enable a physical robot [...] to perform basic housework." The company says it is "inspired" by DeepMind's work in the deep learning and reinforcement learning field of AI, as displayed by its AlphaGo victory over human Go masters. OpenAI says it wants to "train an agent capable enough to solve any game," noting that significant advances in AI will be required in order for that to happen. In May, the company released a public beta of a new Open Source gym for computer programmers working on AI. They also have plans to build an agent that can understand natural language and seek clarification when following instructions to complete a task. OpenAI plans to build new algorithms that can advance this field. Finally, OpenAI wants to measure its progress across games, robotics, and language-based tasks, which is where OpenAI's Gym Beta will come into play.

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180 Artists, Labels Including Taylor Swift Take On YouTube, Join Copyright Plea

Chloe Melas, reporting for CNN: Taylor Swift, U2, Kings of Leon and Paul McCartney are some of the 180 recording artists and labels petitioning Congress to reform the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (D.M.C.A.) In an open letter to Congress, they write that the current online copyright law has allowed YouTube and other sites to "generate huge profits by creating ease of use for consumers to carry almost every recorded song in history in their pocket via a smartphone, while songwriters' and artists' earnings continue to diminish." The letter, which is being published in The Hill and Politico this week, goes on to call for "sensible reform." "We ask you to enact sensible reform that balances the interests of creators with the interests of the companies who exploit music for their financial enrichment. It's only then that consumers will truly benefit." YouTube's parent company, Google, declined to comment Tuesday, but in a statement in April said, "Any claim that the DMCA safe harbors are responsible for a 'value gap' for music on YouTube is simply false." This comes days after musician Trent Reznor said YouTube is built on the back of stolen content.

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