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United Kingdom

'Boaty McBoatface' Polar Ship Named After Attenborough Despite Less Votes (bbc.com) 65

The UK's 200 Million Euro polar research ship won't be called Boaty McBoatface. Instead, the new ship will be called RRS (Royal Research Ship) Sir David Attenborough. The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) had originally planned to name the new ship via an online poll. In all fairness, RRS Sir David Attenborough did pick up a few votes, though in terms of popularity nothing came close to Boaty McBoatface (it earned over 124,000 votes). "We want a name that lasts longer than a social-media news cycle and reflects the serious nature of the science it will be doing," said Jo Johnson, the U.K. Science minister. BBC reports: While the polar ship itself will not be named Boaty McBoatface, one of its remotely operated sub-sea vehicles will be named Boaty in recognition of the vote. James Hand, who first suggested the flippant moniker, said he was pleased the name would "live on."
Youtube

YouTube: Our Primetime Audience Is Bigger Than the Top 10 TV Shows Combined (theverge.com) 25

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki: "Today, I'm happy to announce that on mobile alone YouTube now reaches more 18-49-year-olds than any network -- broadcast or cable. In fact, we reach more 18-49-year-olds during primetime than the top 10 TV shows combined. At a time when TV networks are losing audiences, YouTube is growing in every region and across every screen." Ben Popper, writing for The Verge: Those numbers are a bit vague. We don't know exactly how many people are watching, or whether any individual channel comes close to matching the reach of network TV programming. Most importantly, that doesn't break out what percentage of the audience is watching Google Preferred content, the pre-approved brand-safe stuff that nets big ad dollars, versus the long tail of cat videos and home movies that have steadily dwindling value. Still, it seemed clear that YouTube's clout was not lost on the agencies handling big budgets. Wojcicki used her time on stage to announce that Interpublic Group, one of the world's largest ad holding companies, planned to shift $250 million from traditional TV networks to YouTube over the next year.
Movies

Netflix Enables Streaming Quality Control To Reign In Mobile Data Usage (hothardware.com) 63

MojoKid writes from a report on HotHardware: Netflix wants to put users in control of their mobile data usage when it comes to its iOS and Android apps. Up until today, Netflix held all the cards and adjusted video quality settings on its end (and how much cellular data was consumed) when users were on a cellular connection. Now, Netflix is opening up user-selectable settings that allow you to sip data (at the expense of video quality of course) or gulp it down if you're one of the few with an unlimited data plan. Making the adjustment is as simple as navigating to App Settings and then selecting Cellular Data Usage. From there, you will be able to select from Automatic (Default), Low, Medium, High, or Unlimited options. If you're on a Wi-Fi connection, these quality settings are disabled altogether.
Power

Finger-Tracking Tech Turns Your Arm Into A Touchpad (gizmag.com) 22

New submitter Keys of Cars quotes a report from Gizmag: Smartwatches may be handy, but their tiny touchscreens can easily be obscured by your fingers as you're using them on the device. As a result, we've seen various attempts to move the control surface. One of the latest, Carnegie Mellon University's SkinTrack system, moves it onto your hand and lower arm. The strap of the smartwatch features multiple electrodes, which detects a ring that is worn on your "control finger" (on your non smartwatch-wearing arm) that emits a high-frequency electrical signal. When your finger, specifically the ring, approaches and/or touches the arm with the watch, the high-frequency electrical signal is propagated through the skin. It will work even if your skin is covered with clothing! The system is reportedly 99% accurate, and can locate touches with a mean error of 7.6mm. SkinTrack was used to control games, scroll through lists, zoom in and out of maps, draw pictures, and operate an onscreen number pad.
Privacy

Cops Deploy StingRay Anti-Terror Tech Against $50 Chicken-Wing Thief (theregister.co.uk) 191

An anonymous reader shares a report on The Register: Police in Maryland, U.S., used controversial cellphone-tracking technology intended only for the most serious crimes to track down a man who stole $50 of chicken wings. Police in Annapolis -- an hour's drive from the heart of government in Washington DC -- used a StingRay cell tower simulator in an effort to find the location of a man who had earlier robbed a Pizza Boli employee of 15 chicken wings and three sandwiches. Total worth: $56.77. In that case, according to the police log, a court order was sought and received but in many other cases across the United States, the technology is being used with minimal oversight, despite the fact it is only supposed to be used in the most serious cases such as terrorism.Annapolis police never found the thief.
Bug

'Apple Stole My Music. No, Seriously' (vellumatlanta.com) 327

Vellum's James has written about his ordeal with Apple Music which many people can relate to. Apple Music, the Cupertino-based giant's online music streaming service, deleted 122GB of music files that James had stored on his computer. He writes: What Amber (supposed Apple Support representative) explained was exactly what I'd feared: through the Apple Music subscription, which I had, Apple now deletes files from its users' computers. When I signed up for Apple Music, iTunes evaluated my massive collection of Mp3s and WAV files, scanned Apple's database for what it considered matches, then removed the original files from my internal hard drive. REMOVED them. Deleted. If Apple Music saw a file it didn't recognize -- which came up often, since I'm a freelance composer and have many music files that I created myself -- it would then download it to Apple's database, delete it from my hard drive, and serve it back to me when I wanted to listen, just like it would with my other music files it had deleted. This isn't the first time Apple Music has deleted a user's locally stored music files. Long-time Apple watcher Jim Dalrymple canceled his subscription last year and called Apple Music a "nightmare" after the service allegedly deleted over 4,700 of his previously bought songs. At the time, he wrote: At some point, enough is enough. That time has come for me -- Apple Music is just too much of a hassle to be bothered with. Nobody I've spoken at Apple or outside the company has any idea how to fix it, so the chances of a positive outcome seem slim to none.Incidentally, Apple Music is rumoured for a reboot at the company's developer conference in June. It's not clear if fixing the aforementioned glitch is among Apple's imminent agenda.
Star Wars Prequels

Star Wars Buttons And Lights You May Have Missed (vice.com) 123

tedlistens writes: At Motherboard, Alex Pasternack writes: "Star Wars is set in a world of wildly advanced technology. But take a good look at the machinery of Star Wars, and you may be surprised to see how wonderfully analog it all is -- buttons! levers! vector graphics! Yes, there are hyperdrives and lightsabers and hologram Princess Leias and droids that know six million languages (including the language of moisture vaporators, along with various etiquette and diplomatic protocols useful across the galaxy). But it's also a world where sometimes you have to hit a robot to get it to work, like an old dashboard radio, a place where the supercomputers are operated manually and where buttons and control panels and screens seem far removed from our own galaxy: tactile, lo-fi, and elegantly simple." May the 4th be with you.
Books

Man Sets World Record With 25 Continuous Hours In Virtual Reality (roadtovr.com) 78

An anonymous reader writes: Derek Westerman has made it in the Guinness Book of World Records by spending 25 straight hours in virtual reality. He used the HTC Vive and spent his entire time playing Tilt Brush. "Guinness has a whole set of rules and regulations, one of those being 'one game only the whole time.' I wanted to pick something that gave me the most freedom," Westerman says, "And painting in 3D space for 25 hours seemed like the best bet." At around the 17th hour mark, Westerman reportedly experienced some vertigo and threw up into a bucket provided for him by an assistant. The same bucket was used around the 6th hour mark when Westerman had to urinate. Then around the 21st hour, he starts babbling incoherently while waving the Vive controllers around, saying at one point, "I don't know where I'm at..." The video of the event has been released on Wednesday, even though Guinness lists the record as being achieved on April 7th.
Media

YouTube To Launch 'Unplugged' Online TV Service In 2017 (bloomberg.com) 67

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: YouTube is working on a paid subscription service called Unplugged that would offer customers a bundle of cable TV channels streamed over the Internet, people familiar with the plan said. The project, for which YouTube has already overhauled its technical architecture, is one of the online video giant's biggest priorities and is slated to debut as soon as 2017, one of the people said. YouTube executives have discussed these plans with most major media companies, including Comcast Corp.'s NBCUniversal, Viacom Inc., Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. and CBS Corp., but have yet to secure any rights, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. There are reportedly several different ways YouTube could package TV channels in the service. "In one scenario, it would build a bundle of channels with the four U.S. broadcast networks and a smattering of popular cable channels, a concept known in the industry as a skinny bundle," reports Bloomberg. "YouTube has also discussed offering a collection of less-watched TV channels and creating smaller groups of channels around themes. A YouTube Unplugged comedy bundle might include three or four TV channels such as Comedy Central, while a lifestyle bundle might include the Style Network." Apparently, sources familiar with the matter said YouTube would charge one subscription for the main bundle, and extra, smaller monthly fees for said theme-based groups.
Iphone

Slashdot Asks: What Do You Think Is The Most Influential Gadget Of All Time? (macrumors.com) 390

TIME has published a list ranking the 50 most influential gadgets of all time, from cameras and TVs to music players, smartphones, and drones. Can you guess what was the number one most influential gadget on the list? That's right, the Apple iPhone. "Apple was the first company to put a truly powerful computer in the pockets of millions when it launched the iPhone in 2007," according to TIME. "The iPhone popularized the mobile app, forever changing how we communicate, play games, shop, work, and complete many everyday tasks."

There's a lot of interesting gadgets on the list that have had a profound impact on mankind in some form or another, for better or worse. Do you agree with TIME's number one choice? What do you think is the most influential gadget of all time?
Movies

76% Of Netflix Subscribers Think Netflix Can Replace Traditional TV (cordcutting.com) 160

An anonymous reader writes: It turns out plenty of people think Netflix is ready to replace their traditional TV. According to a survey on AllFlicks (Editor's note: the site is Netflix focused, so it's not really a neutral audience), 75.6 percent of Netflix subscribers said that the on-demand movies and TV shows streaming service has grown good enough to replace whatever the traditional TV has to offer. The participants, however, also noted that the streaming service still can't replace live sports coverage or the experience of the movie theater. In some other news, Netflix knows which picture and video you're likely to click.
AI

Self-Driving Features Could Lead To More Sex In Moving Cars, Expert Warns (www.cbc.ca) 268

An anonymous reader writes: According to CBC.ca, "At least one expert is anticipating that, as the so-called 'smart' cars get smarter, there will eventually be an increase in an unusual form of distracted driving: hanky-panky behind the wheel." Barrie Kirk of the Canadian Automated Vehicles Centre of Excellence said, "I am predicting that, once computers are doing the driving, there will be a lot more sex in cars. That's one of several things people will do which will inhibit their ability to respond quickly when the computer says to the human, 'Take over.'" Federal officials, who have been tasked with building a regulatory framework to govern driverless cars, highlighted their concerns in briefing notes compiled for Transport Minister Marc Garneau. "Drivers tend to overestimate the performance of automation and will naturally turn their focus away from the road when they turn on their auto-pilot," said the note. The Tesla autopilot feature has been receiving the most criticism as there have been many videos posted online showing Tesla drivers engaged in questionable practices, including reading a newspaper or brushing their teeth.
Music

Audiophile Torrent Site What.CD Fully Pwnable Thanks To Wrecked RNG (theregister.co.uk) 129

Reader mask.of.sanity writes: Users of popular audiophile torrent site What.CD can make themselves administrators to completely compromise the private music site and bypass its notorious download ratio limits thanks to the use of the mt_rand function for password resets, a researcher has found. From the report (edited and condensed):What.CD is the world's most popular high quality music private torrent site that requires its users to pass an interview testing their knowledge of audio matters before they are granted an account. Users must maintain a high upload to download ratio to continue to download from the site. [...] "I reported it a year ago, and they acknowledged it but said 'don't worry about it,'" said New-Zealand-based independent security researcher who goes by the alias ss23.
Bitcoin

The Pirate Bay Gets a 'Massive' $9 in Donations Per Day (torrentfreak.com) 103

An anonymous reader writes: When The Pirate Bay and other torrent sites started accepting Bitcoin donations a few years ago, copyright holders voiced concerns about this new 'unseizable' revenue stream. Thus far, this fear seems unwarranted with TPB raking in an average of $9 per day in Bitcoin donations over the past year. While hardly a windfall, it's a fortune compared to the donations received by the leading torrent site KickassTorrents.
Entertainment

Government Could Ban BBC From Showing Top Shows at Peak Times (theguardian.com) 84

An anonymous reader writes: The BBC is on a collision course with the government over reported efforts to bar it from showing popular shows at peak viewing times. The culture secretary, John Whittingdale, is widely expected to ban the broadcaster from going head-to-head with commercial rivals as part of the BBC charter review. He is due to publish a white paper within weeks that will set out a tougher regime as part of a new royal charter to safeguard the service for another 11 years. ITV has complained about licence fee money being used to wage a ratings battle with it and other channels funded by advertising. A source at the BBC said the public would be deeply concerned if it were forced to move programmes such as Strictly Come Dancing, Doctor Who and Sherlock from prime time weekend slots.In some unrelated news, Clarkson, Hammond, and May are still figuring out the name for their new show.

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