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Entertainment

Plex Cloud Means Saying Goodbye To the Always-On PC (theverge.com) 125

Finally, you don't need an always-on PC or any other network-attached storage device if you want to use Plex's media player. The company has announced that it now allows you to stream TV shows and movies from your own collection via a new online option called Plex Cloud. From a report on The Verge: Plex is giving the world another reason to subscribe to Plex Pass subscriptions today with the launch of Plex Cloud. As the name suggests, Plex Cloud eliminates the need to run the Plex Media Server on a computer or Networked Attached Storage (NAS) in your house. It does, however, require a subscription to Amazon Drive ($59.99 per year for unlimited storage) and the aforementioned Plex Pass ($4.99 per month or $39.99 per year). Plex Cloud functions just like a regular Plex Media Server giving you access to your media -- no matter how you acquire it -- from an incredibly broad range of devices. Most, but not all Plex features are available in today's beta.
Cloud

Adobe To Run Some Of Its Creative Cloud Services On Azure (zdnet.com) 17

Adobe will offer its Adobe Creative Cloud, Marketing Cloud, and Document Cloud hosted on Microsoft's Azure, the company said today, as part of a deal with Microsoft. ZDNet adds: Some of Adobe's subscription services for creative professionals currently are hosted on Amazon's AWS. It's not clear from Microsoft's announcement of its new Adobe deal whether Adobe's Creative Cloud, Marketing Cloud, and Document Cloud will run on any other cloud backbones, with Azure as a secondary option or choice. I've asked Microsoft, and heard back from a spokesperson that today's deal is not exclusive, but that's all I know at this point. Work is underway to move these services to the Azure cloud, a spokesperson confirmed, with more information on this coming in the next few months.
Open Source

Ask Slashdot: Who's Building The Open Source Version of Siri? (upon2020.com) 182

We're moving to a world of voice interactions processed by AI. Now Long-time Slashdot reader jernst asks, "Will we ever be able to do that without going through somebody's proprietary silo like Amazon's or Apple's?" A decade ago, we in the free and open-source community could build our own versions of pretty much any proprietary software system out there, and we did... But is this still true...? Where are the free and/or open-source versions of Siri, Alexa and so forth?

The trouble, of course, is not so much the code, but in the training. The best speech recognition code isn't going to be competitive unless it has been trained with about as many millions of hours of example speech as the closed engines from Apple, Google and so forth have been. How can we do that? The same problem exists with AI. There's plenty of open-source AI code, but how good is it unless it gets training and retraining with gigantic data sets?

And even with that data, Siri gets trained with a massive farm of GPUs running 24/7 -- but how can the open source community replicate that? "Who has a plan, and where can I sign up to it?" asks jernst. So leave your best answers in the comments. Who's building the open source version of Siri?
Cloud

A New Programming Language Expands on Google's Go (infoworld.com) 170

"One sure sign your language is successful: When people build other languages that transpile into it." An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes a report from InfoWorld: The Have project uses Go's toolchain, but sports a different syntax and makes key additions to the language... Previously, a language named Oden worked with Go's toolchain to add features that Go didn't support. Now Polish developer Marcin Wrochniak has introduced Have, a language that transpiles to and expands on Go.

In the blog post that introduces the project to Go developers, Wrochniak describes Have as a hobby project, with the goal of becoming a "companion" to Go that addresses some of its common "landmines"... Go uses curly braces in the manner of C/C++, while Have uses block indents, like Python... The way that variable declaration, structs, and interfaces work have all been modified in Have to be more consistent with each other and to avoid internal inconsistencies that Wrochniak feels are a common source of bugs.

The Almighty Buck

Accenture Patents a Blockchain-Editing Tool (techweekeurope.co.uk) 85

A blockchain "produces a permanent ledger of transactions with which no one can tamper," reports TechWeekEurope. "Until now." Slashdot reader Mickeycaskill quotes their report: One of the core principles of Blockchain technology has potentially been undermined by the creation of an editing tool. The company responsible however, Accenture, says edits would only be carried out "under extraordinary circumstances to resolve human errors, accommodate legal and regulatory requirements, and address mischief and other issues, while preserving key cryptographic features..."

Accenture's move to create an editing system will no doubt be viewed by some technology observers as a betrayal of what blockchain technology is all about. But the company insisted it is needed, especially in the financial services industry... "The prototype represents a significant breakthrough for enterprise uses of blockchain technology particularly in banking, insurance and capital markets," said Accenture.

They're envisioning "permissioned" blockchain systems, "managed by designated administrators under agreed governance rules," while acknowledging that cyptocurrency remains a different environment where "immutable" record-keeping would still be essential.
Security

40 Percent of Organizations Store Admin Passwords In Word Documents, Says Survey (esecurityplanet.com) 112

While the IT industry is making progress in securing information and communications systems from cyberattacks, a new survey from cybersecurity company CyberArk says several critical areas, such as privileged account security, third-party vendor access and cloud platforms are undermining them. An anonymous Slashdot reader shares with us the details of the report via eSecurity Planet: According to the results of a recent survey of 750 IT security decision makers worldwide, 40 percent of organizations store privileged and administrative passwords in a Word document or spreadsheet, while 28 percent use a shared server or USB stick. Still, the survey, sponsored by CyberArk and conducted by Vanson Bourne, also found that 55 percent of respondents said they have evolved processes for managing privileged accounts. Fully 79 percent of respondents said they have learned lessons from major cyberattacks and have taken appropriate action to improve security. Sixty-seven percent now believe their CEO and board of directors provide sound cybersecurity leadership, up from 57 percent in 2015. Three out of four IT decision makers now believe they can prevent attackers from breaking into their internal network, a huge increase from 44 percent in 2015 -- and 82 percent believe the security industry in general is making progress against cyberattackers. Still, 36 percent believe a cyberattacker is currently on their network or has been within the past 12 months, and 46 percent believe their organization was a victim of a ransomware attack over the past two years. And while 95 percent of organizations now have a cybersecurity emergency response plan, only 45 percent communicate and regularly test that plan with all IT staff. Sixty-eight percent of organizations cite losing customer data as one of their biggest concerns following a cyberattack, and 57 percent of organizations that store information in the cloud are not completely confident in their cloud provider's ability to protect their data.
Microsoft

Salesforce, Google, Microsoft, Verizon Are In Talks With Twitter For a Potential Acquisition (cnbc.com) 65

Twitter is in conversation with a number of tech companies for a potential sale. The social company is in talks with Google and cloud computing company Salesforce (which also wanted to purchase LinkedIn), and may receive a formal offer soon, reports CNBC. TechCrunch corroborating on the report adds that Microsoft and Verizon are also in talks, albeit separately, with Twitter for the same. From CNBC report: Shares of Twitter were up 20 percent Friday. Twitter's board of directors is said to be largely desirous of a deal, according to people close to the situation, but no sale is imminent. There's no assurance a deal will materialize, but one source close to the conversations said that they are picking up momentum and could result in a deal before year-end. Suitors are said to be interested as much in the data that Twitter generates as its place as a media company.
Security

Akamai Kicked Journalist Brian Krebs' Site Off Its Servers After He Was Hit By a Record Cyberattack (businessinsider.com) 203

An anonymous reader writes:Cloud hosting giant Akamai Technologies has dumped journalist Brian Krebs from its servers after his website came under a "record" cyberattack. "It's looking likely that KrebsOnSecurity will be offline for a while," Krebs tweeted Thursday. "Akamai's kicking me off their network tonight." Since Tuesday, Krebs' site has been under sustained distributed denial-of-service (DDoS), a crude method of flooding a website with traffic in order to deny legitimate users from being able to access it. The assault has flooded Krebs' site with more than 620 Gbps per second of traffic -- nearly double what Akamai has seen in the past.
Businesses

GoPro Launches Karma Drone and Voice-Controlled Hero5 Cameras (cnet.com) 14

The long-awaited GoPro drone has officially launched. Dubbed Karma, GoPro's new drone works with the Hero5 and Hero5 Session, two new flagship cameras. The Hero5 features a 2-inch touch display, 12-megapixel photos with RAW support, built-in GPS, electronic image stabilization, waterproofing up to 33 feet (10 meters), and voice control. The GoPro Hero5 Session on the other hand consists of a tiny cube camera that is capable of 4K video recording at 30 fps and 10-megapixel photos. It too is waterproof up to 33 feet (10 meters) and offers support for voice commands. You can say, "GoPro, start recording," and it will start recording. They are also both cloud-connected, meaning they can auto-upload photos and video to an account when the camera is charging (requires a paid subscription to GoPro's new cloud service). While the Karma works with the Hero5 and Hero5 Session, it also works with the Hero4 cameras. CNET reports: The Karma's small, too. Like fold-it-up-and-stick-it-in-a-regular-backpack small. In fact, it even comes with the backpack. And of course it's made with the new Hero5 Black and Hero5 Session cameras, but will also work with the Hero4 cameras. So you're not stuck with a camera that's permanently attached to a drone, you're getting a camera you can use on its own or in the drone. Perhaps its greatest asset is the three-axis camera stabilizer on the drone. Not only will it keep your video looking smooth in the air, but it can be removed and attached to the included Karma Grip. GoPro says the grip can then be used handheld, perfect for running, riding, skating, etc. alongside your friends, or mounted on other gear. Karma arrives on October 23 for $799 without a camera, $999 with a Hero5 Session and $1,099 with the Hero5 Black.
Oracle

Larry Ellison Says 'Amazon's Lead is Over' As Oracle Unveils New Cloud Infrastructure (venturebeat.com) 156

Oracle has unveiled its second generation of cloud infrastructure for third-party developers to run their applications in Oracle data centers. What is interesting about the announcement is that Oracle co-founder and chief technology officer Larry Ellison claiming that "Amazon's lead is over. Amazon's going to have serious competition going forward." From a VentureBeat report: One particular instance, or virtual-machine (VM) type, that Oracle is making available in this second-generation offering -- the Dense IO Shape -- offers 28.8TB, 512GB, and 36 cores, at a price of $5.40 per hour. This product offers more than 10 times the input-output capacity of Amazon Web Services (AWS), specifically the i2.8xlarge instance, said Ellison. Currently, AWS leads the cloud infrastructure market, with Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and IBM trailing behind. Oracle's public cloud was not included in the most recent version of Gartner's highly regarded cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) Magic Quadrant, which was released last month. "Oracle also does not have enough market share to qualify for inclusion," the authors of the report wrote.
Open Source

Netflix Releases 'Meridian' Test Footage To All Including Competitors, Open Sources Some Tools (variety.com) 40

Netflix has released 'Meridian' to not just all its 83 million subscribers, but to everyone. The company produced the title as test footage to evaluate anything from the performance of video codecs to the way Netflix streams look like on 4K TVs. But the company decided to make it to open to all -- be it hardware manufacturers, codec developers, or even competitors like Amazon and Hulu. From a report on Variety:Netflix is using a Creative Commons license for the release of "Meridian," which is new for an industry that isn't used to sharing a lot of resources. "They are in the business of exploiting content, not of giving it away," Chris Fetner, the company's director for content partner operations said. But for Netflix, it's just par of the course. Thanks to its Silicon Valley DNA, Netflix has long collaborated with other companies on cloud computing-focused open source projects. Now, it wants to nudge Hollywood to do the same -- and "Meridian" is only the beginning. This week, Netflix is also open-sourcing a set of tools tackling a common problem for studios and video services.
The Military

The US Government Is Building A 'Drone Dragnet' For Battlefields (thestack.com) 25

The US government plans to launch "a three and a half year initiative to develop an urban drone detection system." An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: The Aerial Dragnet program is to use off-the-shelf commercial components and mostly established technologies and methods to create a network of floating or tethered platforms that will ultimately provide 95% efficient drone identification in urban areas up to 180 square kilometers. The call to proposers states that the total cost of the system for a city should be around $90,000, and would likely include the ability to identify the micro-Doppler signatures given off by UAVs -- and birds.
Unmanned aerial systems are becoming platforms "for hostile reconnaissance, targeting, and weapon delivery," warns the government document, noting drones are hard to detect because they're small and fly slowly at low altitudes. "In future urban battlegrounds, U.S. forces will be placed at risk by small UAVs which use buildings and naturally-occurring motion of the clutter to make surveillance impractical..."
Google

Google To Buy Apigee For $625 Million To Expand Enterprise (bloomberg.com) 30

An anonymous reader shares a Bloomberg report:Google is buying software development toolmaker Apigee for $625 million, the latest move by the search giant to bulk up its cloud-based offerings for businesses. Alphabet Inc.'s Google has agreed to pay $17.40 a share in cash, San Jose, California-based Apigee said in a statement Thursday. That's a 6.5 percent premium to Apigee's closing price Wednesday. The companies expect the deal to be completed by the end of the year. Apigee sells a platform that aids companies in managing their APIs, which are programming tools that help developers build software that talks to each other and shares information without revealing the underlying code. APIs have become an integral part of cloud software development, allowing one application to pull data and use services from multiple other programs. "The addition of Apigee's API solutions to Google cloud will accelerate our customers' move to supporting their businesses with high quality digital interactions" Diane Greene, senior vice president of Google's cloud business, said in a blog post, referring to application program interface products.
Cloud

Google Teams Up With Cloud Company Box To Sell More Google Apps For Work (recode.net) 9

Two big giants in the cloud storage race are joining hands. Box, which leads enterprise content platform, on Wednesday announced a partnership with Google. The companies say they will collaborate on several initiatives to transform work in the cloud, including integrations between Box, Google Docs and Google Springboard, to deliver a seamless experience for working and collaborating on content in the cloud. Recode reports: Google and Box will also, per a press release, "work together to develop and deliver next-generation intelligence to Box users searching for content on Google Springboard" -- Google's new search-like function for all its enterprise apps. Is this a precursor to a Google acquisition of Box? Maybe. Box has a market cap of around $1.8 billion and Google has some $73 billion laying around.
EU

Japan Goes Public With Brexit Demands, Says Data Flow Deals Must Be Protected (arstechnica.com) 315

Kelly Fiveash, writing for ArsTechnica:UK Prime minister Theresa May said at the weekend that she wanted to take her time to secure the best trade deals for a post-Brexit Britain, and reiterated -- in her trademark vague terms -- that the so-called Article 50 won't be triggered this year. But political pressure from governments as far away as Japan continues to mount. On Sunday, in a bold move, the Japanese government published a 15-page memo setting out a number of demands it wants the UK to adhere to, once it leaves the European Union. It underscored that Britain faces a torrid time of negotiations -- not just with member states in the EU, but further afield, too. Japan, which has close economic ties with the UK, listed its demands based on requests from businesses in the country. It said; "It is of great importance that the UK and the EU maintain market integrity and remain attractive destinations for businesses where free trade, unfettered investment, and smooth financial transactions are ensured." It's brutal stuff from Japan, and could well lead to other countries making similarly robust demands. On tech specifically, the Japanese government called on the UK and EU, post-Brexit, to maintain cloud agreements between businesses at an international level, by safeguarding the "free transfer of data."
Microsoft

Google, Apple, Mozilla, and the EFF Support Microsoft's Fight Against Gag Orders (betanews.com) 55

An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes BetaNews about new legal documents filed Friday: Microsoft is fighting the US Justice Department in an attempt to quash a law that prevents companies informing customers that the government is requesting their data. The technology giant has the backing of other tech companies as well as media outlets. Amazon, Apple, Google, Fox News, Electronic Frontier Foundation and Mozilla are among those offering their support to Microsoft. The lawsuit says that blocking companies from keeping their customers informed is unconstitutional, and it comes at a time when tech companies in particular are keen to be as open and transparent as possible about government requests for data....

As EFF Senior Staff Attorney Lee Tien puts it: "Whether the government has a warrant to rifle through our mail, safety deposit boxes, or emails stored in the cloud, it must notify people about the searches. When electronic searches are done in secret, we lose our right to challenge the legality of law enforcement invasions of privacy. The Fourth Amendment doesn't allow that, and it's time for the government to step up and respect the Constitution."

Mozilla argues transparency "is critical to our vision of an open, trusted, secure web that places users in control of their experience online," in a blog post announcing that they'd joined a brief filed by Apple, Twilio, and Lithium Technologies.

And a statement from an EFF staff attorney argues that notifying the targets of searches "provides a free society with a crucial means of government accountability."
Earth

NASA Releases First-Ever Close-Up Images of Jupiter's North Pole (npr.org) 54

NASA has released the first close-up images of Jupiter's north pole captured by the Juno spacecraft, taken during the probe's first flyby of the planet with its instruments switched on. "The images show storm systems and weather activity unlike anything previously seen on any of our solar system's gas-giant planets," writes Tony Greicius via NASA. NPR reports: "NASA also released an image of Jupiter's southern aurora, a unique view that could be captured only by a spacecraft close to Jupiter. The aurora occurs when energized particles from the sun interact with Jupiter's atmosphere near the planet's poles. The space agency also released audio of what the aurora sounds like if you convert it to a frequency the human ear can hear. The pictures and data were collected Aug. 27, when June made the first of some three dozen scheduled close encounters with Jupiter. At its closest approach, the spacecraft was a mere 2,500 miles above the planet's cloud tops." The images can be found here. You can also listen to Jupiter's auroras via YouTube. Spoiler: they sound like a dial-up modem.
Cloud

New Cloud Attack Takes Full Control of Virtual Machines With Little Effort (arstechnica.com) 34

C3ntaur writes: The world has seen the most unsettling attack yet resulting from the so-called Rowhammer exploit, which flips individual bits in computer memory. It's a technique that's so surgical and controlled that it allows one machine to effectively steal the cryptographic keys of another machine hosted in the same cloud environment. Until now, Rowhammer has been a somewhat clumsy and unpredictable attack tool because it was hard to control exactly where data-corrupting bit flips happened. While previous research demonstrated that it could be used to elevate user privileges and break security sandboxes, most people studying Rowhammer said there was little immediate danger of it being exploited maliciously to hijack the security of computers that use vulnerable chips. The odds of crucial data being stored in a susceptible memory location made such hacks largely a matter of chance that was stacked against the attacker. In effect, Rowhammer was more a glitch than an exploit. Now, computer scientists have developed a significantly more refined Rowhammer technique they call Flip Feng Shui. It manipulates deduplication operations that many cloud hosts use to save memory resources by sharing identical chunks of data used by two or more virtual machines. Just as traditional Feng Shui aims to create alignment or harmony in a home or office, Flip Feng Shui can massage physical memory in a way that causes crypto keys and other sensitive data to be stored in locations known to be susceptible to Rowhammer. The research paper titled "Flip Feng Shui: Hammering a Needle in the Software Stack" can be read here.
Bug

Staff Breach At OneLogin Exposes Password Storage Feature (cso.com.au) 47

River Tam quotes a report from CSO Australia: Enterprise access management firm OneLogin has suffered an embarrassing breach tied to a single employee's credentials being compromised. OneLogin on Tuesday revealed the breach affected a feature called Secure Notes that allowed its users to "store information." That feature however is pitched to users as a secure way to digitally jot down credentials for access to corporate firewalls and keys to software product licenses. The firm is concerned Secure Notes was exposed to a hacker for at least one month, though it may have been from as early as July 2 through to August 25, according to a post by the firm. Normally these notes should have been encrypted using "multiple levels of AES-256 encryption," it said in a blog post. Several thousand enterprise customers, including high profile tech startups, use OneLogin for single sign-on to access enterprise cloud applications. The company has championed the SAML standard for single sign-on and promises customers an easy way to enable multi-factor authentication from devices to cloud applications. But it appears the company wasn't using multi-factor authentication for its own systems. OneLogin's CISO Alvaro Hoyos said a bug in its software caused Secure Notes to be "visible in our logging system prior to being encrypted and stored in our database." The firm later found out that an employees compromised credentials were used to access this logging system. The company has since fixed the bug on the same day it detected the bug. CSO adds that the firm "also implemented SAML-based authentication for its log management system and restricted access to a limited set of IP addresses."
AI

Google's DeepMind To Apply AI In Head and Neck Cancer Treatments (thestack.com) 17

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Stack: Google's DeepMind team has partnered with British hospital doctors on an oral cancer program hoping to cut planning times for radiotherapy treatments. After recently announcing a partnership with London's Moorfields Eye Hospital to use its machine learning technologies to speed up the diagnoses of eye conditions, DeepMind has confirmed a new initiative at the University College London Hospitals (UCLH) NHS Foundation Trust. According to Google's artificial intelligence unit, cancer treatments including radiotherapy involve complicated design and planning, especially when they involve the head and neck. Treatments need to obliterate cancerous cells while avoiding any healthy surrounding cells, nerves, and organs. UCLH plans to work with DeepMind to explore whether machine learning can reduce planning time for these treatments, particularly for the image segmentation process which involves clinicians taking CT and MRI scans to build a detailed map of the areas to be treated. The report adds: "DeepMind algorithms will be set to work on an anonymized collection of 700 radiology scans from former oral cancer patients, learning from the historical data in order to draw its own conclusions without human support."

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