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Operating Systems

Google's New Emoji Aimed At Promoting Gender Equality Are Coming (arstechnica.com) 199

An anonymous reader writes: Based largely on a proposal from Unicode Consortium member Google, Unicode Consortium has announced plans to support new emoji aimed at promoting gender equality. There will be "11 new 'professional' emoji [that] will depict both men and women performing different jobs, and there will be both male and female versions of 33 existing emoji that currently depict either a man or a women but not both," writes Ars Technica. "The new professions include, in the Unicode Consortium's words: a farmer, welder, mechanic, health worker, scientist, coder, business worker, chef, student, teacher, and rockstar." What's unusual about the new emoji is that they're created using combinations of existing emoji to avoid waiting for Unicode version 10.0 to be finalized in June of 2017. By using a special "zero-width joiner" (ZWJ) character between two or more emoji, operating systems that support it know to put out a different composite emoji rather than a series of separate emoji. "The new emoji for professions start with either a man or woman emoji, then a ZWJ character, then another character related to the job," reports Ars. "Emoji that were previously one specific gender (the dancing woman or the man running) can be joined to a male or female symbol with a ZWJ character to create emoji of either gender. And all of these emoji can be combined with the existing skin tone modifiers to produce diverse versions of either gender." We may see these combined emoji before the end of the year as software companies begin to integrate them into their operating systems.
Republicans

145 Tech Leaders Say 'Trump Would Be A Disaster For Innovation' (cnn.com) 360

An anonymous reader writes from a report via CNN: "We have listened to Donald Trump over the past year and we have concluded: Trump would be a disaster for innovation," wrote 145 technology leaders in an open letter Medium post published Thursday. Some of the leaders are from tech giants like Google, Facebook and Apple, others from small startups, venture capital firms, nonprofits and universities. "We believe in an inclusive country that fosters opportunity, creativity and a level playing field. Donald Trump does not," reads the letter, which was signed by well-known names like Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak, Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield, IAC's Barry Diller, Reddit's Alexis Ohanian and Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales. "His reckless disregard for our legal and political institutions threatens to upend what attracts companies to start and scale in America. He risks distorting markets, reducing exports, and slowing job creation," reads the letter, published by chief marketing officer at Color Genomics and former VP at Twitter Katie Jacobs Stanton. Moreover, Trump has shown "poor judgment and ignorance about how technology works," they wrote, citing his proposal to "shut down" parts of the Internet and the fact that he has revoked reporters' press credentials. "We stand against Donald Trump's divisive candidacy," the letter concludes. "We embrace an optimistic vision for a more inclusive country, where American innovation continues to fuel opportunity, prosperity and leadership." Meanwhile, Jon Swartz writes from USA Today that "If there was any lingering doubt as to tech's favored presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton put an end to that Tuesday with a tech plan that reads like a Silicon Valley wish list."
Television

Apple Launching Reality TV Show Called 'Planet of the Apps' (venturebeat.com) 62

theodp writes: The Verge reports Apple is making good on an earlier threat to create a reality TV show about app developers. An open casting call has been issued for "Planet of the Apps," with the goal of finding "100 of the world's most talented app creators" -- news which VentureBeat suggests must be making Steve Jobs' ghost weep. Apple has teamed up with Propagate, a new production company created by the producer of "The Biggest Loser." The description of the show says: "Join us on the search for the next great app in a new original series. Those selected will have the chance to receive hands-on guidance from some of the most influential experts in the tech community, featured placement on the App Store, and funding from top-tier VCs." The show is expected to be released in 2017.
Iphone

PSA: Pokemon Go Has Full Access To Your Google Account Data (techcrunch.com) 104

An anonymous reader writes: If you're an iPhone user and have installed Pokemon GO, you may have noticed that the app grants itself full access to your Google account. It can read your email, location history, documents and pretty much every else associated with your Google account. (You can check to see for yourself here.) Given the nature of the game, it's understandable for it to request a lot of permissions, as it needs your precise location, ability to access the camera and motion sensors, read and write the SD card, and charge you money when you run out of Pokeballs or eggs. But full access to your Google account is pushing it, even if Niantic or Nintendo has no malicious intentions. If you're concerned about these permissions, you can always sign-up using a Pokemon Trainer account, assuming the servers are permitting. Google describes full account access as such: "When you grant full account access, the application can see and modify nearly all information in your Google Account (but it canâ(TM)t change your password, delete your account, or pay with Google Wallet on your behalf). This 'Full account access' privilege should only be granted to applications you fully trust, and which are installed on your personal computer, phone, or tablet."
Android

Pokemon Go Leads to Reckless Driving, Injuries, and A Corpse (chicagotribune.com) 130

Since its release Wednesday night, Pokemon Go has already gone on to become the top-grossing game in the three countries where it's available, and Forbes contributor Tero Kuittinen calls it "the first example of an AR product becoming a national obsession." An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: Some fans are now tweeting about playing the game while driving, and the Chicago Tribune quotes one user who says "Pokemon Go put me in the ER last night... Not even 30 minutes after the release...I slipped and fell down a ditch." In Australia the game has been leading some players to their local police station, and a woman in Wyoming reports that the game actually led her to a dead body floating in a river. And at least one Pokemon Go screenshot has gone viral. It shows a man capturing a Pokemon while his wife gives birth.
The app's popularity has created lagging servers and forced Niantic to delay its international roll-out, meaning "Those who have already downloaded the game in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand can still play it, while those in the U.K., the Netherlands and other countries will have to wait." Meanwhile, Motherboard warns that a malicious sideloaded version of Pokemon Go is being distributed that actually installs a backdoor on Android devices, and also reports that some players are already spoofing their GPS coordinates in order to catch Pokemon without leaving their house.
Iphone

Carrying A Gun-Shaped iPhone 'Makes It Much Less Likely You'll Catch Your Plane' (cnet.com) 235

HughPickens.com writes: A passenger at London Stansted Airport seemed to think it was a good idea to have a gun-shaped iPhone case in his back pocket as he prepared to board a plane... [T]he police speculated on Twitter that they could proceed with charges against him for either a public order offense or for possession of an imitation firearm in a public place tweeting with the hashtag #dontbedaft that "Bringing this to an airport makes it much less likely you'll catch your plane."

[In 2015] the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office in New Jersey offered this warning on Facebook to potential users: "Please folks -- this cell phone case is not a cool product or a good idea. A police officer's job is hard enough, without having to make a split second decision in the dark of night when someone decides without thinking to pull this out while stopped for a motor vehicle violation..."
One Twitter user responded, "On what planet is this a smart thing to do?" But the New Jersey prosecutor has asked their followers on social media to share their own opinions.
Displays

Apple Patents Augmented Reality Display, May Be Building A VR Headset (roadtovr.com) 25

An anonymous reader quotes an article from Road to VR: Apple has just been granted another AR/VR related technology patent, to add to their growing list. In this case it's a transparent, high field of view display which looks to be aimed at the augmented reality sector and, alongside other mounting evidence, could indicate Apple is preparing to enter the immersive technology race sooner rather than later... Anticipation that the company is working on 'something' AR/VR behind the scenes at Cupertino has been stoked by a series of company acquisition and staff hires. Most interestingly however are the trail of patent applications made by Apple.
This week's new patent specifies a "Peripheral Treatment of Head-mounted Displays" to deliver an image to the wearer's eyes through a transparent display medium.
Security

Apple Devices Held For Ransom, Rumors Claim 40M iCloud Accounts Hacked; Apple-Related Forums Compromised (csoonline.com) 73

Steve Ragan, reporting for CSOOnline: Since February, a number of Apple users have reported locked devices displaying ransom demands written in Russian. Earlier this week, a security professional posted a message to a private email group requesting information related a possible compromise of at least 40 million iCloud accounts. Salted Hash started digging around on this story after the email came to our attention. In it, a list member questioned the others about a rumor concerning "rumblings of a massive (40 million) data breach at Apple." The message goes on to state that the alleged breach was conducted by a Russian actor, and vector "seems to be via iCloud to the 'locate device' feature, and is then locking the device and asking for money."In a separate report, the publication reports that three websites owned by Penton Technology -- MacForums.com, HotScripts.com, and WebHostingTalk.com -- have been compromised and their databases are now being sold on the Darknet. While nothing is confirmed, there is a possibility that some of the rumored 40M compromised Apple ID credentials may have come from these forums, or from LinkedIn's recent hack.
IOS

Apple To Release Public Betas of iOS 10 and macOS Sierra Today 88

The next version of Apple's desktop operating system, macOS Sierra, will be made available in a public beta later today. Enthusiasts can also try their hands at iOS 10, the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system today. Both the new operating system versions offer a range of new features and improvements. Sierra, for instance, features Siri voice assistant which will assist users with locating files, answering queries, and search for images and information just by asking. iOS 10 lets users write a message in their own handwriting, and has a feature called "Raise to Wake" which wakes up the device when a user picks up their iPhone. Notifications have gotten more powerful, and now show photos and videos as well. You will find the macOS Sierra preview here, and iOS 10 preview here. More information on Apple's beta program here.
Microsoft

Microsoft Targets The iMac With New All-In-One Surface PCs, Reports Say (networkworld.com) 140

New submitter Miche67 writes: Two reports say Microsoft is working on an all-in-one (AIO) PC under the Surface brand. If that's true, it would put it in competition with HP and Dell, which have their own AIO lines, as well as put it in competition with Apple's iMac. Network World reports: "Both DigiTimes and Windows Central picked up on the story, each citing their own sources. DigiTimes, a Taiwan-based publication with connections to the PC industry over there (but also a very mixed record of accuracy) said the new devices would come in the third quarter of this year. Windows Central, which is a little better when it comes to rumors, said it did not have a solid release date." Business Insider was able to find a patent filing by Microsoft for a desktop PC that supports the rumored AIO design. "The device is evidently targeting a 'modern and elegant' design and is meant to be something akin to a premium appliance or furniture," Windows Central wrote. Intel's release date of the new Kaby Lake line of processors around Q3 of this year complicates things. While Kaby Lake is said to be more mobile-friendly with less power consumption and heat, they would make for a good choice for an AIO machine. However, it would be pushing it for Microsoft to release its AIO machines in the same quarter that Kaby Lake is due. On a semi-related note, a programmer at Building 88 recently confirmed that Microsoft will release Surface 5 devices next year powered by Kaby Lake processors. He posted pictures of four device holders marked "2017" on his Twitter account.
Businesses

Walmart Now Lets You Pay With Phone At All 4,600 US Stores Via Walmart Pay (cnet.com) 118

An anonymous reader writes: Walmart will now let customers make purchases with their phone at all 4,600 of its stores in the U.S. The feature is called Walmart Pay and it works by letting the cashier scan a QR code on a customer's phone screen to complete their payment. The technology is different than Apple, Samsung, and Android Pay, which involves tapping your phone next to a payment terminal with NFC. The company wants to make shopping easier and faster, and with its own payment app, Walmart can get insights into consumer behavior, though it says it won't use the data without a shopper's permission. Walmart says no payment information is stored on users' phones or at registers -- card information is stored on Walmart servers. Note: Samsung Pay also uses magnetic secure transmission (MST) to make purchases. When a smartphone with Samsung Pay is held against a register with a magnetic stripe terminal, the phone emits a magnetic signal that simulates the magnetic strip found on the back of a credit or debit card.
Desktops (Apple)

EasyDoc Malware Adds Tor Backdoor To Macs For Botnet Control (theregister.co.uk) 68

An anonymous reader writes: Security firm Bitdefender has issued an alert about a malicious app that hands over control of Macs to criminals via Tor. The software, called EasyDoc Converter.app, is supposed to be a file converter but doesn't do its advertised functions. Instead it drops complex malware onto the system that subverts the security of the system, allowing it to be used as part of a botnet or to spy on the owner. "This type of malware is particularly dangerous as it's hard to detect and offers the attacker full control of the compromised system," said Tiberius Axinte, Technical Leader, Bitdefender Antimalware Lab. "For instance, someone can lock you out of your laptop, threaten to blackmail you to restore your private files or transform your laptop into a botnet to attack other devices. The possibilities are endless." The malware, dubbed Backdoor.MAC.Eleanor, sets up a hidden Tor service and PHP-capable web server on the infected computer, generating a .onion domain that the attacker can use to connect to the Mac and control it. Once installed, the malware grants full access to the file system and can run scripts given to it by its masters.A report on AppleInsider says that malware can also control the FaceTime camera on a victim's computer. But thankfully, Apple's Gatekeeper security prevents the unsigned app from being installed.
Iphone

iPhone 7 To Start at 32GB Storage, Says WSJ (time.com) 235

An anonymous reader writes: It appears Apple has finally decided to do something about the not-so-enough 16GB storage on its base iPhone model. According to a report on WSJ, the Cupertino-based company's next smartphone -- expected to be named iPhone 7 will have 32GB internal storage on the base model.For years, Apple has offered a 16GB iPhone version for those who were on a budget or just didn't necessarily need too much storage. But as we moved forward -- the iPhone got better cameras and improved video recording capability and apps became more sophisticated and ate more storage -- we really reached a point where 16GB wasn't enough for most people. In many cases, people were unable to update their iPhone to the latest version of iOS because there wasn't enough storage left on the device. It's a welcome move, and something millions of people will appreciate.
Crime

'New Way of Stealing Cars': Hacking Them With A Laptop (marketwatch.com) 159

retroworks writes: The Wall Street Journal (Warning: source may be paywalled), CBS and Marketwatch all lead the morning with stories about the newest method of stealing (late model) cars. No need for hacking off the ignition switch and touching the wires to create a spark (controversial during broadcasts in 1970s television crime criticized for "teaching people to steal cars"). Thieves now use the laptop to access the automobile's computer system, and voila. "Police and car insurers say thieves are using laptop computers to hack into late-model cars' electronic ignitions to steal the vehicles, raising alarms about the auto industry's greater use of computer controls. The discovery follows a recent incident in Houston in which a pair of car thieves were caught on camera using a laptop to start a 2010 Jeep Wrangler and steal it from the owner's driveway. Police say the same method may have been used in the theft of four other late-model Wranglers and Cherokees in the city. None of the vehicles have been recovered." The article concludes with the example filmed of a break-in in Houston. The thief, says the NICB's Mr. Morris, likely used the laptop to manipulate the car's computer to recognize a signal sent from an electronic key the thief then used to turn on the ignition. The computer reads the signal and allows the key to turn. "We have no idea how many cars have been broken into using this method," Mr. Morris said. "We think it is minuscule in the overall car thefts but it does show these hackers will do anything to stay one step ahead." No details on modifying the program to run on Android or iPhone -- there's not yet "an app for that."
IOS

Apple To Encourage Organ Donation With Health App (cnet.com) 63

An anonymous reader writes: Apple announced today that its updated Health app, which will be available as part of iOS 10, will allow people to sign-up to be organ donors. The app will use its Medical ID feature, which has been used in the past to keep track of medical and health information, to include the ability to register as a donor of organs, eyes and tissues. The registrations will be forwarded to the National Donate Life Registry, an organization managed by Donate Life of America. All you need to do is tap the registration button in the Health app to volunteer as an organ donor. That adds your status as a donor to an "emergency information" screen that can appear even when the phone is locked. Tapping another button brings up information on organ donation. The demand for organs greatly exceeds the supply, as more than 120,000 Americans are currently waiting for a transplant -- every 10 minutes a new person is added to that waiting list, according to Apple. The feature is currently available for developers, but will be rolling out to the public in the public beta soon.

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