A 14-Year-Old Asks: When Should I Get a VPN?

“One of my students sent me this letter,” writes Slashdot reader Hasaf. “I have a good idea how I will answer, but I wanted to put it before the Slashdot community.” The letter reads:
Right now I am 14 years old, I was wondering when I should get a VPN… I was thinking about getting the yearly deal. But right now I really have no need for a VPN at the moment. I was thinking of getting a VPN when I’m in 11th grade or maybe in college. What do you think?
Of course, the larger question is what factors go into deciding whether your need to be using a VPN. So leave your best answers in the comments. When should you get your first VPN?

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Source: Slashdot – A 14-Year-Old Asks: When Should I Get a VPN?

Several women accuse tech pundit Robert Scoble of sexual harassment

Enlarge / Robert Scoble, as seen in 2013. (credit: JD Lasica)

Robert Scoble, a longtime fixture of the Silicon Valley punditocracy, has been publicly accused of sexual harassment and assault by multiple women.

In a public Facebook post on Friday, Scoble wrote that he was “deeply sorry to the people I’ve caused pain to. I know I have behaved in ways that were inappropriate.”

“I know that apologies are not enough and that they don’t erase the wrongs of the past or the present,” he continued. “The only thing I can do to really make a difference now is to prove, through my future behavior, and my willingness to listen, learn and change, that I want to become part of the solution going forward.”

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Source: Ars Technica – Several women accuse tech pundit Robert Scoble of sexual harassment

Air traffic controllers may get a break from non-stop drone reports

Air traffic controllers have it bad enough managing full-size aircraft, but they face an extra headache when you throw drones in the mix. You see, controllers get calls when drone pilots want approval to fly within 5 miles of an airport — and with…

Source: Engadget – Air traffic controllers may get a break from non-stop drone reports

Microsoft Chastises Google Over Chrome Security

An anonymous reader quotes PCMag:
In a Wednesday blog post, Redmond examined Google’s browser security and took the opportunity to throw some shade at Chrome’s security philosophy, while also touting the benefits of its own Edge browser. The post, written by Microsoft security team member Jordan Rabet, noted that Google’s Chrome browser uses “sandboxing” and isolation techniques designed to contain any malicious code. Nevertheless, Microsoft still managed to find a security hole in Chrome that could be used to execute malicious code on the browser.

The bug involved a Javascript engine in Chrome. Microsoft notified Google about the problem, which was patched last month. The company even received a $7,500 reward for finding the flaw. However, Microsoft made sure to point out that its own Edge browser was protected from the same kind of security threat. It also criticized Google for the way it handled the patching process. Prior to the patch’s official rollout, the source code for the fix was made public on GitHub, a software collaboration site that hosts computer code. That meant attentive hackers could have learned about the vulnerability before the patch was pushed out to customers, Microsoft claimed. “In this specific case, the stable channel of Chrome remained vulnerable for nearly a month,” the blog post said. “That is more than enough time for an attacker to exploit it.”
In the past Google has also disclosed vulnerabilities found in Microsoft products — including Edge.

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Source: Slashdot – Microsoft Chastises Google Over Chrome Security

For Under $1,000, Mobile Ads Can Track Your Location

“Researchers were able to use GPS data from an ad network to track a user to their actual location, and trace movements through town,” writes phantomfive. Mashable reports:

The idea is straightforward: Associate a series of ads with a specific individual as well as predetermined GPS coordinates. When those ads are served to a smartphone app, you know where that individual has been… It’s a surprisingly simple technique, and the researchers say you can pull it off for “$1,000 or less.” The relatively low cost means that digitally tracking a target in this manner isn’t just for corporations, governments, or criminal enterprises. Rather, the stalker next door can have a go at it as well… Refusing to click on the popups isn’t enough, as the person being surveilled doesn’t need to do so for this to work — simply being served the advertisements is all it takes.

It’s “an industry-wide issue,” according to the researchers, while Mashable labels it “digital surveillance, made available to any and all with money on hand, brought to the masses by your friendly neighborhood Silicon Valley disrupters.”

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Source: Slashdot – For Under ,000, Mobile Ads Can Track Your Location

Windows 10 now includes anti-cheat protection for games

Windows 10’s Fall Creators Update is full of changes, but one of the understated additions could make a big difference if you’re a gamer. Microsoft has switched on its previously teased TruePlay feature, which promises to protect against “common” che…

Source: Engadget – Windows 10 now includes anti-cheat protection for games

US Government Warns Of 'Ongoing' Hacks Targeting Nuclear and Power Industries

An anonymous reader quotes Reuters:
The U.S government issued a rare public warning that sophisticated hackers are targeting energy and industrial firms, the latest sign that cyber attacks present an increasing threat to the power industry and other public infrastructure. The Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation warned in a report distributed by email late on Friday that the nuclear, energy, aviation, water and critical manufacturing industries have been targeted along with government entities in attacks dating back to at least May. The agencies warned that hackers had succeeded in compromising some targeted networks, but did not identify specific victims or describe any cases of sabotage. The objective of the attackers is to compromise organizational networks with malicious emails and tainted websites to obtain credentials for accessing computer networks of their targets, the report said.
According to the report, the Department of Homeland Security “has confidence that this campaign is still ongoing and threat actors are actively pursuing their objectives over a long-term campaign.”

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Source: Slashdot – US Government Warns Of ‘Ongoing’ Hacks Targeting Nuclear and Power Industries

Five-minute allergy test passes the FDA's scrutiny

A few years ago, researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) started developing what they eventually dubbed the “world’s most rapid” allergy test. Now, that test has received the FDA’s approval and will start telling…

Source: Engadget – Five-minute allergy test passes the FDA’s scrutiny

Study says body cameras don't always change police behavior

In theory, body cameras are supposed to not only catch police abuses of power, but deter them: officers will be on their best behavior knowing that they could be hauled in. As Washington, DC researchers have learned, though, that isn’t guaranteed….

Source: Engadget – Study says body cameras don’t always change police behavior

NYT Op-Ed Argues Amazon 'Took Seattle's Soul'

New York Times columnist Timothy Egan was part of the paper’s Pulitzer Prize-winning team in 2001. Now he’s written an op-ed arguing Amazon “took Seattle’s soul.” An anonymous reader writes:
Since Amazon arrived “we’ve been overwhelmed by a future we never had any say over,” Egan writes, with a message for cities competing to be the site of Amazon’s next headquarters. Amazon now owns as much office space as Seattle’s next 40 biggest employers combined, according to an analysis by the Seattle Times, “a mind-boggling 19 percent of all prime office space in the city, the most for any employer in a major U.S. city…more than twice as large as any other company in any other big U.S. city.”

Egan notes Amazon is offering 50,000 high-paying jobs and $5 billion worth of investments, “a once-in-a-century, destiny-shaping event,” but “You think you can shape Amazon? Not a chance. It will shape you… What comes with the title of being the fastest growing big city in the country, with having the nation’s hottest real estate market, is that the city no longer works for some people. For many others, the pace of change, not to mention the traffic, has been disorienting… [M]edian home prices have doubled in five years, to $700,000. This is not a good thing in a place where teachers and cops used to be able to afford a house with a water view… As a Seattle native, I miss the old city, the lack of pretense, and dinner parties that didn’t turn into discussions of real estate porn.

Wages have risen faster in Amazon’s Seattle than anywhere else in America, and while Amazon changed the city’s character, it also poured $38 billion into the city’s economy. (Besides Amazon’s own 40,000 employees, it also attracted another 50,000 new jobs.) “To the next Amazon lottery winner I would say, enjoy the boom,” Egan concludes, “but be careful what you wish for.”

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Source: Slashdot – NYT Op-Ed Argues Amazon ‘Took Seattle’s Soul’

Amazon Patents Drones That Recharge Electric Vehicles

slash.jit shared an article from Futurism:
Amazon has been granted a patent for an ambitious new method of maintaining a charge in electric vehicles. The company wants to use drones to allow drivers to top up their vehicles without having to visit a charging station. Drivers would request a top up from a central server, which would dispatch a charging drone to their location. The drone would then dock with the vehicle and start transferring power, without the car ever needing to come to a stop. This solution isn’t meant to administer a full charge to the car’s battery, it would only supply enough power to get the driver to a charging station, which are still in somewhat limited supply.

“Amazon first applied for this patent back in June 2014,” reports CNET, noting it was finally granted this month. “Like many other patents, there’s no guarantee that Amazon will actually create a product based on the design. It could merely be an attempt to stop competitors from doing so.”

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Source: Slashdot – Amazon Patents Drones That Recharge Electric Vehicles

What we're watching: 'Raw' and 'Feast of Fiction'

Welcome back to Video IRL, where several of our editors talk about what they’ve been watching in their spare time. This month we’re kicking things off with some seasonally-appropriate horror fare, that you can catch right away on Netflix or Amazon Pr…

Source: Engadget – What we’re watching: ‘Raw’ and ‘Feast of Fiction’

Watch the Pawn Stars Undervalue Some Classic Superman Memorabilia

On an episode of Pawn Stars, which airs on the History Channel for some reason, the starring pawn proprietors got a chance to check out some amazing pieces from the 1978 Superman film. But they weren’t all that impressed.

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Source: Gizmodo – Watch the Pawn Stars Undervalue Some Classic Superman Memorabilia

See Giant Robots Fight. US vs Japan Match On YouTube

AmiMoJo writes: Suidobashi Heavy Industries and MegaBots agreed to test their piloted giant robots in combat a few years back, and the content is finally available on YouTube. It ended in a draw, with Japan decisively winning the first bout with a single punch and the US team winning the second thanks to a chainsaw weapon. There have been some complaints that the whole event felt scripted, but it’s early days yet. ITMedia has a nice gallery of photos from the event.
“The MegaBots team expressed hope for a formal fighting robot league in the future,” reports CNBC.

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Source: Slashdot – See Giant Robots Fight. US vs Japan Match On YouTube

YouTube Suspends Account of Popular Chinese Dissident

schwit1 brings news about an exiled Chinese billionaire with 500,000 followers on YouTube. The Washington Free Beacon reports:YouTube has suspended the video account of popular Chinese dissident Guo Wengui amid a mounting pressure from the Beijing government to silence one of its critics. According to a person familiar with the action, YouTube issued what the company calls a ‘strike’ against Guo, who since the beginning of the year has created an online sensation by posting lengthy videos in which he reveals details of corruption by senior Chinese officials. The suspension involves a 90-day block on any new live-stream postings of videos and was the result of a complaint made against a recent Guo video for alleged harassment. The identity of the person or institution who issued the complaint could not be learned… Other videos by Guo posted prior to the suspension remain accessible.
The suspension coincides with this week’s once-every-five-years congress of the Chinese Communist party to reveal which top officials will serve President Xi Jinping, according to Financial Times, adding that “China’s choreographed politics is not designed for public participation or questioning.”

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Source: Slashdot – YouTube Suspends Account of Popular Chinese Dissident

Georgia Rep. Betty Price Ponders Whether State Could Just 'Quarantine' People With HIV

Georgia State Rep. Betty Price—spouse of former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, who recently left his role in Donald Trump’s administration after taking a few too many taxpayer-funded charter flights—casually asked a state epidemiologist whether it would be more cost-effective to just force HIV-positive…

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Source: Gizmodo – Georgia Rep. Betty Price Ponders Whether State Could Just ‘Quarantine’ People With HIV