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Cryptocat Author Gets Insanely Fast Backing To Build P2P Tech For Social Media

Slashdot - Mon, 18/01/2021 - 22:10
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: The idea for Capsule started with a tweet about reinventing social media. A day later cryptography researcher, Nadim Kobeissi -- best known for authoring the open-source E2E-encrypted desktop chat app Cryptocat (now discontinued) -- had pulled in a pre-seed investment of $100,000 for his lightweight mesh-networked microservices concept, with support coming from angel investor and former Coinbase CTO Balaji Srinivasan, William J. Pulte and Wamda Capital. The nascent startup has a post-money valuation on paper of $10 million, according to Kobeissi, who is working on the prototype -- hoping to launch an MVP of Capsule in March (as a web app), after which he intends to raise a seed round (targeting $1 million-$1.5 million) to build out a team and start developing mobile apps. For now there's nothing to see beyond Capsule's landing page and a pitch deck (which he shared with TechCrunch for review). But Kobeissi says he was startled by the level of interest in the concept. "I posted that tweet and the expectation that I had was that basically 60 people max would retweet it and then maybe I'll set up a Kickstarter," he tells us. Instead the tweet "just completely exploded" and he found himself raising $100,000 "in a single day" -- with $50,000 paid in there and then. "I'm not a startup guy. I've been running a business based on consulting and based on academic R&D services," he continues. "But by the end of the day -- last Sunday, eight days ago -- I was running a Delaware corporation valued at $10 million with $100,000 in pre-seed funding, which is insane. Completely insane."

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Categories: Technology

Essex Police pay emotional tributes special constable who died with Covid-19

This Is Total Essex - Mon, 18/01/2021 - 22:01
Toby Speller's unit tweeted: "Rest well Toby, we will take it from here"
Categories: Local News

Smartwatches Can Help Detect COVID-19 Days Before Symptoms Appear

Slashdot - Mon, 18/01/2021 - 21:30
Smartwatches and other wearable devices that continuously measure users' heart rates, skin temperature and other physiological markers can help spot coronavirus infections days before an individual is diagnosed. From a report: Devices like the Apple Watch, Garmin and Fitbit watches can predict whether an individual is positive for COVID-19 even before they are symptomatic or the virus is detectable by tests, according to studies from leading medical and academic institutions, including Mount Sinai Health System in New York and Stanford University in California. Experts say wearable technology could play a vital role in stemming the pandemic and other communicable diseases. Researchers at Mount Sinai found that the Apple Watch can detect subtle changes in an individual's heartbeat, which can signal that an individual has the coronavirus, up to seven days before they feel sick or infection is detected through testing. "Our goal was to use tools to identify infections at time of infection or before people knew they were sick," said Rob Hirten, assistant professor of medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City and author of the Warrior Watch study. Specifically, the study analyzed a metric called heart rate variability -- the variation in time between each heartbeat -- which is also a measure of how well a person's immune system is working.

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Categories: Technology

Massive Blackouts Have Hit Iran. The Government is Blaming Bitcoin Mining.

Slashdot - Mon, 18/01/2021 - 20:50
Massive blackouts and smog have hit cities across Iran. It's a toxic mix as the country, already under economic duress and suffocating U.S. sanctions, simultaneously battles the region's worst coronavirus outbreak. Blackouts are not new in Iran, where an aging and subsidized electricity sector is plagued by alleged mismanagement. But this time, government officials say that bitcoin mining at cryptocurrency farms -- the energy-intensive business of using large collections of computers to verify digital coin transactions -- is partly to blame. From a report: Iran's state-owned electricity firm Tavanir announced Wednesday that it had shut down a large Chinese-Iranian-run cybercurrency center in the southeastern province of Kerman because of its heavy energy consumption. The company reportedly was licensed to operate under a process the government had put in place to regulate the industry. Alongside pointing a finger at legal operations, Iranian officials have specifically singled out illegal cryptocurrency miners as a strain on the electricity grid spurring outages, Mostafa Rajabi Mashhadi, a spokesperson for the electricity industry at Iran's energy ministry, told the IRNA state-run news agency. On Wednesday, Ali Vaezi, a spokesperson for Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, said the government would be investigating cases of unlicensed cryptocurrency farms. But Iranians in the bitcoin industry reject the government's accusations, saying the industry is being blamed for a broader problem. "The miners have nothing to do with the blackouts," Ziya Sadr, a cryptocurrency researcher in Tehran, told The Washington Post. "Mining is a very small percentage of the overall electricity capacity in Iran."

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Categories: Technology

Popular Podcasts App Pocket Casts Is Up For Sale: Where Did It Go Wrong?

Slashdot - Mon, 18/01/2021 - 20:10
James Cridland, editor of podcast newsletter PodNews: Podcast app Pocket Casts is looking for a buyer. NPR, which owns 34.6% of the company, reports their share of the company's loss was $812,000: which could put the company's net loss at more than $2m, though the company denies this. I've used Pocket Casts for a long time. To me, it has two unbeatable features: 1. A really, really good audio player - the skip-silence and the voice-boost is light-years ahead of anything that anyone else has produced (with the possible exception of Overcast, but I don't use it enough to know) 2. The full Apple Podcasts catalogue (since BBC content is blocked from Google Podcasts). This isn't unique to PocketCasts, but is one reason why I came back to it. Sadly, those two selling points haven't helped it in recent years. Purchased by a set of US public media companies in May 2018, and subsequently also invested-in by BBC Studios Americas, Pocket Casts has seen its market share shrink.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Technology

Apple Pulls the Plug on User-Found Method To Sideload iOS Apps on Mac

Slashdot - Mon, 18/01/2021 - 19:30
Apple has plugged a hole that allowed users to sideload iOS and iPad applications to M1 Macs that were never intended to run on desktop. The server-side change ensures that only applications that app developers have flagged as optimized for Mac will run. From a report: Late last year, Apple launched its first Macs running on its own ARM-based custom CPU called the M1, as opposed to the Intel chips that have been used in Macs for several years. These new machines included the entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro, the MacBook Air, and the low-end Mac mini. Since those machines now share an architecture with iPhones and iPads, which also have closely related ARM-based chips, it became possible to run iOS and iPadOS apps natively on Macs that were equipped with the M1 chip. Apple supported this by listing iPhone and iPad apps that passed an automated test on the Mac App Store, provided developers did not opt out of having the app listed. However, many developers did opt out for any number of reasons: because they did not feel the app provided a good user experience on laptops or desktops; because they offer preferred alternative ways to access services or content on Macs; because they don't have the time to support an additional platform; or any number of other reasons.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Technology

Give 'em SSPL, says Elastic. No thanks, say critics: 'Doubling down on open' not open at all

The Register - Mon, 18/01/2021 - 19:17
Open source users warn adoption of copyleft licence could make use of Elasticsearch, Kibana a business risk

Elastic, whose products include Elasticsearch and Kibana, has adopted a new licence called SSPL (Server Side Public License), as used by MongoDB. The aim is "to restrict cloud service providers from offering our software as a service," but others warn this could make the products risky to use unless a paid-for licence is adopted.…

Categories: Technology

Behind a Secret Deal Between Google and Facebook

Slashdot - Mon, 18/01/2021 - 18:50
Facebook was going to compete with Google for some advertising sales but backed away from the plan after the companies cut a preferential deal, according to court documents. From a report: In 2017, Facebook said it was testing a new way of selling online advertising that would threaten Google's control of the digital ad market. But less than two years later, Facebook did an about-face and said it was joining an alliance of companies backing a similar effort by Google. Facebook never said why it pulled back from its project, but evidence presented in an antitrust lawsuit filed by 10 state attorneys general last month indicates that Google had extended to Facebook, its closest rival for digital advertising dollars, a sweetheart deal to be a partner. Details of the agreement, based on documents the Texas attorney general's office said it had uncovered as part of the multistate suit, were redacted in the complaint filed in federal court in Texas last month. But they were not hidden in a draft version of the complaint reviewed by The New York Times. Executives at six of the more than 20 partners in the alliance told The Times that their agreements with Google did not include many of the same generous terms that Facebook received and that the search giant had handed Facebook a significant advantage over the rest of them. The executives, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid jeopardizing their business relationships with Google, also said they had not known that Google had afforded such advantages to Facebook. The clear disparity in how their companies were treated by Google when compared to Facebook has not been previously reported. The disclosure of the deal between the tech giants has renewed concerns about how the biggest technology companies band together to close off competition. The deals are often consequential, defining the winners and losers in various markets for technology services and products. They are agreed upon in private with the crucial deal terms hidden through confidentiality clauses. Google and Facebook said that such deals were common in the digital advertising industry and that they were not thwarting competition. Julie Tarallo McAlister, a Google spokeswoman, said the complaint "misrepresents this agreement, as it does many other aspects of our ad tech business." She added that Facebook is one of many companies that participate in the Google-led program and that Facebook is a partner in similar alliances with other companies.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Technology

Scottish Environment Protection Agency refuses to pay ransomware crooks over 1.2GB of stolen data

The Register - Mon, 18/01/2021 - 18:35
Which is exactly what you should do

Scotland's environmental watchdog has confirmed it is dealing with an "ongoing ransomware attack" likely masterminded by international "serious and organised" criminals during the last week of 2020.…

Categories: Technology

Hungary Mulls Sanctions Against Social Media Giants

Slashdot - Mon, 18/01/2021 - 18:14
Hungarian Justice Minister Judit Varga on Monday raised the prospect of sanctioning social media firms over what she called "systematic abuses" of free speech. From a report: The minister said she would meet the Hungarian competition watchdog this week to discuss possible penalties for what she described as unfair commercial practices as well as convening a meeting of the country's digital freedom committee. In a growing wave of criticism, some government officials are complaining about what they have described as efforts by social media companies, including Facebook, to limit conservative views on their platforms. Prime Minister Viktor Orban has turned Hungary's public media into an obedient mouthpiece and allies control large parts of the private media, allowing his agenda to be aired prominently. But the right-wing premier faces the toughest challenge to his decade-long rule at a parliamentary election next year, as he tackles a protracted recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and a united opposition, with polls showing a neck-and-neck race.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Technology

7 ways Essex would be different if TOWIE never existed

This Is Total Essex - Mon, 18/01/2021 - 17:53
Love it of hate it TOWIE is a part of what it means to be from Essex
Categories: Local News

Debut firing of NASA's Space Launch System core stage cut short following 'Major Component Failure'

The Register - Mon, 18/01/2021 - 17:48
This is why we test

The Moon moved a little further from NASA over the weekend as the first firing of the Space Launch System's core stage came to an abrupt halt after only 67.2 seconds.…

Categories: Technology

Essex towns which became set of TV comedy starring The Inbetweeners actors

This Is Total Essex - Mon, 18/01/2021 - 17:34
The comedy was filmed and set in multiple Essex locations
Categories: Local News

Safari 14 Added WebExtensions Support. So Where Are the Extensions?

Slashdot - Mon, 18/01/2021 - 17:30
At WWDC last year, Apple announced it was going to support Chrome-style browser extensions (the WebExtensions API) in Safari. Months after Safari 14's release, are developers bothering with Safari? Jason Snell: The answer seems to be largely no -- at least, not yet. The Mac App Store's Safari extensions library seems to be largely populated with the same stuff that was there before Safari 14 was released, though there are some exceptions. [...] So in the end, what was the net effect of Apple's announcement of support for the WebExtensions API in Safari? It's a work in progress. A very small number of extensions have appeared in the App Store, and it seems quite likely that others will follow at their own pace. Other developers remain utterly unmoved by all the extra work moving to Safari would entail. It strikes me that Apple could rapidly drive adoption of Safari extensions if it would finally bring that technology to iOS. Targeting the Mac is nice, but if they could target iPads and iPhones, we might really have something.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Technology

Covid-19: Tributes are paid to Essex Police officer

Braintree and Witham Times - Mon, 18/01/2021 - 17:13
Tributes have been paid to an Essex Police officer who has died after a battle with Covid-19.
Categories: Local News

Full list of signs you may be suffering from Long Covid

This Is Total Essex - Mon, 18/01/2021 - 17:10
Why deaths from Covid-19 are not the only outcome we should be worried about
Categories: Local News

Storm Christoph to bring heavy rainfall across Essex

Braintree and Witham Times - Mon, 18/01/2021 - 17:03
The newly named Storm Christoph is set to bring high winds and heavy rain to the UK.
Categories: Local News

Bye bye, said Trump admin to Huawei: You give a cheque-ie to our techies, but there's no licence to ply

The Register - Mon, 18/01/2021 - 17:00
And them good ol' boys revokin' sanction to buy, singin', 'Soon will come the day that we fly'

As parting gifts go, this one ranks pretty low. With less than three days until the inauguration of Joe Biden, the Trump Administration has reportedly revoked several licences that would allow Huawei to buy US-made tech, and plans to deny over 150 pending requests.…

Categories: Technology

Denise Van Outen 'gutted' as fall forces Dancing on Ice routine change

This Is Total Essex - Mon, 18/01/2021 - 16:58
The star said she trained "too hard" to let her shoulder stop her
Categories: Local News

Essex Police officer dies from Covid-19 as tributes pour in

This Is Total Essex - Mon, 18/01/2021 - 16:58
"Please everyone adhere to government regulations to help save lives."
Categories: Local News

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