To Conserve Bandwidth, Should Opting In Be Required Before Autoplaying Videos?

An anonymous reader writes:
We keep seeing stories about how providers are slowing down their streaming speed to reduce bandwidth usage during this period when many are being asked to stay at home… But it seems that many are totally ignoring a very obvious way to reduce usage significantly, and that is by disabling autoplay on their web sites and in their apps.

To give an example, a couple of days ago I was watching a show on Hulu, and either I was more sleepy than I thought or the show was more boring than I had expected (probably some combination of both), but I drifted off to sleep. Two hours later I awoke and realize that Hulu had streamed two additional episodes that no one was watching. I searched in vain for a way to disable autoplay of the next episode, but if there is some way to do it I could not find it.

What I wonder is how many people even want autoplay? I believe Netflix finally gave their users a way to disable it, but they need to affirmatively do so via a setting somewhere. But many other platforms give their users no option to disable autoplay. That is also true of many individual apps that can be used on a Roku or similar device. If conserving bandwidth is really that important, then my contention is that autoplaying of the next episode should be something you need to opt in for, not something enabled by default that either cannot be disabled or that forces the user to search for a setting to disable.
“Firefox will disable autoplay,” writes long-time Slashdot user bobs666 (adding “That’s it use Firefox.”) And there are ways to disable autoplay in the user settings on Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.

But wouldn’t it make more sense to disable autoplay by default — at least for the duration of this unusual instance of peak worldwide demand?

I’d be interested in hearing from Slashdot’s readers. Do you use autoplay — or have you disabled it? And do you think streaming companies should turn it off by default?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – To Conserve Bandwidth, Should Opting In Be Required Before Autoplaying Videos?

The Best Features Of The Linux 5.6 Kernel From WireGuard To Y2038 Compatibility To USB4

The Linux 5.6 stable kernel could be released as soon as tomorrow if Linus Torvalds is comfortable with its current state to avoid having an eighth weekly release candidate. Whether Linux 5.6 ends up being released tomorrow or next weekend, this kernel is bringing many exciting changes…

Source: Phoronix – The Best Features Of The Linux 5.6 Kernel From WireGuard To Y2038 Compatibility To USB4

Fox Sports will air a 'Madden NFL 20' tournament on March 29th

Fox Sports’ NASCAR esports race was a success, and it’s betting that it can repeat that achievement with football. FS1 is planning to air its first ever Fox Esports Madden NFL Invitational on March 29th at 7PM Eastern. The two-hour event will pit p…

Source: Engadget – Fox Sports will air a ‘Madden NFL 20’ tournament on March 29th

Review: elegiac Star Trek: Picard brings all the feels in bittersweet finale

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Source: Ars Technica – Review: elegiac Star Trek: Picard brings all the feels in bittersweet finale

How Devs Can Help Beat the COVID-19 Pandemic

The state of New York hopes to “amplify” its response to COVID-19 by launching tech-driven products with top companies, and it’s looking for professional volunteers with experience in software development, hardware deployment/end-user support, and data science (as well as areas like product management, design, operations management).
Meanwhile, IBM’s 2020 “Call for Code Global Challenge” is a virtual hackathon with a $200,000 prize, and they’ve now “expanded its focus” to include the effects of COVID-19.

Tech columnist Mike Melanson writes:
But this is just the beginning of the COVID-19 hackathon boom, which now includes efforts organized by tech giants, state governments, and grassroots initiatives alike. For example, the World Health Organization got together with technology companies and platforms such as AWS, Facebook, Giphy, Microsoft, Pinterest, Salesforce, Slack, TikTok, Twitter and WeChat to launch the COVID-19 Global Hackathon 1.0, which is running as we speak with a deadline for submissions of March 30th at 9 AM PST. If you’re too late, fret not, for there are many more, such as the CODEVID-19 hackathon we mentioned last week that has a weekly rolling deadline. And deadlines aside, the U.S. Digital Response for COVID-19 is working to pair technology, data, and government professionals with those who need them, in a form of nationwide, technological mutual aid…
[T]he COVID-19 open-source help desk is “a fast-track ‘stack overflow’ where you can get answers from the very people who wrote the software that you use or who are experts in its use.” And if you happen to be either an open source author or expert, feel free to pitch in on answering questions…

On the open data side of things, for example, GitHub offers a guide on open collaboration on COVID-19, while StackOverflow looks at the myriad ways to help the fight against COVID-19 from home. ProgrammableWeb has a list of developer hackathons to combat COVID-19, and even the Golang team offers some guidance for Go, the Go community, and the pandemic, with Erlang also joining in.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – How Devs Can Help Beat the COVID-19 Pandemic

Into the Night Is an Upcoming Netflix Series About the Sun's Final Revenge

As Charles Montgomery Burns once explained it, the sun is the greatest enemy of the modern man. Giver of heat, but tyrant of time and, frankly, a real pain to people wanting to run power companies. All that free light! Please. But, finally, the sun is going to have its vengeance for mankind’s impetuous ire. That…

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Source: io9 – Into the Night Is an Upcoming Netflix Series About the Sun’s Final Revenge

The Punch-Out Speedrunning Community Spent Five Years Trying To Beat One Player And All His Records

Back in the early 90s and early 2000s, Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out for the NES was a popular early speedrunning game. But eventually, players moved on. However, one player went back to some old Punch-Out fansites in 2010 and discovered that every world record at the time had been set by one player, Matt Turk. Nobody had…

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Source: Kotaku – The Punch-Out Speedrunning Community Spent Five Years Trying To Beat One Player And All His Records

Amazon offers warehouse workers higher pay to handle Prime Now groceries

Amazon’s focus on essentials during the COVID-19 pandemic has led it to offer special incentives to workers. Reuters has learned that Amazon is offering warehouse workers a $2 raise to $19 per hour if they’re willing to pick and pack Whole Foods gro…

Source: Engadget – Amazon offers warehouse workers higher pay to handle Prime Now groceries

Doc Searls: 'Zoom Needs to Clean Up Its Privacy Act'

The former editor-in-chief of the Linux Journal just published an annotated version of Zoom’s privacy policy. Searls calls it “creepily chummy with the tracking-based advertising biz (also called adtech).
I’ll narrow my inquiry down to the “Does Zoom sell Personal Data?” section of the privacy policy, which was last updated on March 18. The section runs two paragraphs, and I’ll comment on the second one, starting here:

Zoom does use certain standard advertising tools which require Personal Data …

What they mean by that is adtech. What they’re also saying here is that Zoom is in the advertising business, and in the worst end of it: the one that lives off harvested personal data. What makes this extra creepy is that Zoom is in a position to gather plenty of personal data, some of it very intimate (for example with a shrink talking to a patient) without anyone in the conversation knowing about it. (Unless, of course, they see an ad somewhere that looks like it was informed by a private conversation on Zoom.)

A person whose personal data is being shed on Zoom doesn’t know that’s happening because Zoom doesn’t tell them. There’s no red light, like the one you see when a session is being recorded. If you were in a browser instead of an app, an extension such as Privacy Badger could tell you there are trackers sniffing your ass. And, if your browser is one that cares about privacy, such as Brave, Firefox or Safari, there’s a good chance it would be blocking trackers as well. But in the Zoom app, you can’t tell if or how your personal data is being harvested.

(think, for example, Google Ads and Google Analytics).

There’s no need to think about those, because both are widely known for compromising personal privacy. (See here. And here. Also Brett Frischmann and Evan Selinger’s Re-Engineering Humanity and Shoshana Zuboff’s In the Age of Surveillance Capitalism.)
Zoom claims it needs personal data to “improve” its users “experience” with ads — though Searls isn’t satisfied. (“Nobody goes to Zoom for an ‘advertising experience,’ personalized or not. And nobody wants ads aimed at their eyeballs elsewhere on the Net by third parties using personal information leaked out through Zoom.”) His conclusion?

“What Zoom’s current privacy policy says is worse than ‘You don’t have any privacy here.’ It says, ‘We expose your virtual necks to data vampires who can do what they will with it.'”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Doc Searls: ‘Zoom Needs to Clean Up Its Privacy Act’

America's FDA Grants Emergency Approval for a 15-Minute Coronavirus Test

While many coronavirus tests provide results within hours or days, America’s Food and Drug Administration “has authorized the emergency use” of a new rapid coronavirus test from medical device manufacturer Abbott that could results in less than 15 minutes, reports NBC News:
The FDA told Abbott it authorized the test’s use after determining that “it is reasonable to believe that your product may be effective in diagnosing COVID-19,” based on the scientific evidence presented. The agency added that the “known and potential benefits” of the test outweigh potential risks, such as false positives or negatives. The technology being used for the new test is similar to the one found in rapid flu tests, according to the FDA’s authorization letter and Abbott.

The FDA also said Friday it has issued at least 19 other emergency use authorizations for diagnostic tests to detect COVID-19, and that it is working with more than 220 test developers who are expected to submit emergency-use authorization requests soon…

Abbott said it is ramping up production to deliver 50,000 tests to the U.S. health care system starting next week.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – America’s FDA Grants Emergency Approval for a 15-Minute Coronavirus Test

NASA picks SpaceX to deliver cargo to the Lunar Gateway

In the next few years, SpaceX will fly cargo to an orbit farther than where the ISS is. NASA has awarded the space agency with a contract to deliver critical cargo, scientific experiments and other supplies to the Lunar Gateway, which will serve as t…

Source: Engadget – NASA picks SpaceX to deliver cargo to the Lunar Gateway

KINGMAX Launches PX4480 PCIe 4.0 SSD With Blistering 5GB/Sec Reads

KINGMAX Launches PX4480 PCIe 4.0 SSD With Blistering 5GB/Sec Reads
AMD’s X570 platform has not only delivered us the highly capable Zen 2-based Ryzen 3000 processors — which include the flagship 16-core/32-thread Ryzen 9 3950X — but it has also ushered in the age of PCIe 4.0 SSDs for the consumer market. The newest of these blazing fast SSDs comes from KINGMAX, which has just introduced the PX4480.

The

Source: Hot Hardware – KINGMAX Launches PX4480 PCIe 4.0 SSD With Blistering 5GB/Sec Reads

Marshall’s Uxbridge Smart Speaker Goes To 11 With Alexa Voice

Marshall’s Uxbridge Smart Speaker Goes To 11 With Alexa Voice
Marshall is a brand name that’s mostly known for creating amplifiers that are used by musicians electric guitars. That’s not all the company has in its lineup with it unveiling a new Uxbridge Voice smart speaker with Amazon Alexa. The intelligent speaker is offered in a white or black cabinet and is shaped to look like one of the company’s

Source: Hot Hardware – Marshall’s Uxbridge Smart Speaker Goes To 11 With Alexa Voice

Physicists Disagree Over New Dark Matter Claim

sciencehabit shared this article from Science magazine:

For decades, astrophysicists have thought some sort of invisible dark matter must pervade the galaxies and hold them together, although its nature remains a mystery. Now, three physicists claim their observations of empty patches of sky rule out one possible explanation of the strange substance — that it is made out of unusual particles called sterile neutrinos. But others argue the data show no such thing.

“I think that for most of the people in the community this is the end of the story,” says study author Benjamin Safdi, an astroparticle physicist at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. But Kevork Abazajian, a theoretical physicist at the University of California, Irvine, says the new analysis is badly flawed. “To be honest, this is one of the worst cases of cherry picking the data that I’ve seen,” he says. In unpublished work, another group looked at similar patches of sky and saw the very same sign of sterile neutrinos that eluded Safdi…

Alexey Boyarsky, an astroparticle theorist at Leiden University, is unconvinced. “I think this paper is wrong,” he says. Boyarsky says he and his colleagues performed a similar, unpublished analysis in 2018, also using images from XMM-Newton, and did see a 3.5-keV glow from the empty sky, just expected from peering through a halo of sterile neutrinos.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Physicists Disagree Over New Dark Matter Claim

The Battle Between the PS5 and Xbox Series X Isn't Going to Be Decided By Specs

Last week, Sony and Microsoft set the stage for a battle that’s going to (hopefully) take place later this year with the release of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. Both systems are poised to bring rich new experiences and high-end features to console gaming, but if you think either one is going to win on specs…

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Source: Gizmodo – The Battle Between the PS5 and Xbox Series X Isn’t Going to Be Decided By Specs