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Arm China Goes Rogue, Ex-CEO Accused of Blocking the Business

Sat, 08/01/2020 - 12:34
An anonymous reader quotes Bloomberg: Arm Ltd., the chip designer owned by SoftBank Group Corp., accused the ousted head of its China joint venture of hurting its business there, escalating a dispute that's becoming a test of Beijing's willingness to protect foreign investment in the world's second-largest economy. The U.K. chip giant in June announced it was firing Allen Wu, the head of its Chinese unit, over undisclosed breaches of conduct, but the executive has refused to step down and remains in control of the strategically important operation. Rather than the peaceful, rapid resolution that both sides have said they want, the situation has deteriorated. Wu has hired his own security and won't let representatives of Arm Ltd. or his board on the premises, said a person familiar with the situation. He's refused to hold a planned event to connect Chinese chipmakers with Arm Ltd. and avoided negotiations despite public statements to the contrary, said the person, who asked not to be named... Resolving the conflict will be crucial to SoftBank's reported plans to sell Arm, a lynchpin in the global smartphone and computing industry that the Japanese firm bought for $32 billion in 2016.

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William English, Engineer Behind 'The Mother of All Demos', Dies at 91

Sat, 08/01/2020 - 11:34
An anonymous reader quotes The Los Angeles Times: On Dec. 9, 1968, the then-small world of computer engineering was shaken to its core by a presentation of new technologies projected onto a screen in a San Francisco hall. The attendees at the historic event saw demonstrations of video conferencing, the first public use of a computer mouse, hyperlinking in which clicking a word in a document transported the user to an entirely new document — and more. The man who was the star of the hands-on show seen in the hall was Douglas Engelbart, whose team at the research center SRI in Menlo Park, California, had been developing them for years. But the man who had designed what is known now as "The Mother of All Demos" and was working behind the scenes to make sure they all worked was William K. English, who died Sunday at the age of 91. Bill English played an indispensable role in more than Engelbart's demo... In 1965 the lab received a NASA grant to invent a technology for moving a cursor and selecting an item on a display screen; Engelbart developed the concept, but it was English who designed the first prototype &mdash the mouse... English essentially choreographed Engelbart's presentation. Just as important, he made sure there were no technical glitches. That was a challenge, since Engelbart would be in San Francisco demonstrating a system that was being operated 30 miles away in Menlo Park, the two sites connected via a microwave relay. The event went off virtually without a hitch, and a new world was born. "Doug wasn't doing it," recalls Roberta, who had worked as Engelbart's secretary. "It was all Bill." Engelbart died in 2013. English also participated in an early research project "into the psychological effects of LSD," according to the article. But a few years after the legendary demo, English was recruited for Xerox's legendary Palo Alto Research Center, "where he helped midwife PARC's invention of the personal computer and other innovations... He subsequently left Xerox to join Sun Microsystems and later the pioneering electronic game console maker 3DO."

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Is It Possible to Implement Faster Binary Searches?

Sat, 08/01/2020 - 10:34
Last week Slashdot reader scandum described the search for the most efficient sorting algorithm. Now he's back, touting a new implementation for binary searches (using the same GitHub repo, and written in 15 to 30 lines of C code) that he says may be "up to 40%" faster for 32-bit integers. ("Keep in mind performance will vary depending on hardware and compiler optimizations.") The most commonly used binary search variant was first published by Hermann Bottenbruch in 1962 and hasn't notably changed since. Binary searches are one of the corner stones of computer science... The reason the algorithms are faster appears to be a combination of simpler calculations, branch prediction, and a reduction in cache misses.

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Google Victory In German Top Court Over Right To Be Forgotten

Sat, 08/01/2020 - 09:34
Germany's top court handed down its first ruling since the EU's GDPR laws went into effect in mid-2018. The court "sided with Google and rejected requests to wipe entries from search results," reports German public broadcaster DW (in an article shared by long-time Slashdot reader AmiMoJo): The cases hinged on whether the right to be forgotten outweighed the public's right to know... In the first case, a former managing director of a charity had demanded Google remove links to certain news articles that appeared in searches of his name. The articles from 2011 reported that the charity was in financial trouble and that the manager had called in sick. He later argued in court that information on his personal health issues should not be divulged to the public years later. The court ruled that whether links to critical articles have to be removed from the search list always depends on a comprehensive consideration of fundamental rights in the individual case. A second case was referred to the European Court of Justice. It concerned two leaders of a financial services company that sought to have links to negative reports about their investment model removed. The couple had argued that the US-based websites, which came up in the searches for their names, were full of fake news and sought to market other financial services providers. This is the first ruling by Germany's top court since the EU's general data protection regulation came into effect in 2018. It gives EU citizens extensive rights to demand corporations immediately delete personal data.

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A New Lyme Disease Vaccine Is Showing Promise

Sat, 08/01/2020 - 08:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from IFLScience: Promising results have come out of the only active clinical trial for a vaccine against Lyme disease. Valneva, a French biotech company, recently announced its first Phase 2 clinical trial has shown that its vaccine against Lyme disease is both safe and effective. The vaccine works by triggering the body's immune system to produce antibodies for the six common serotypes of the disease that are found in North America and Europe. It does this by introducing an isolated protein of the pathogen to the body, allowing the immune system to recognize and respond to the surface proteins found on the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi. Over 570 healthy adults in the US and Europe were given one of two dose levels of the vaccine in three injections, while others were given a placebo as a control. Both groups that received the active dose were found to have produced a significant amount of antibodies against each of the six most prevalent Outer Surface Protein A serotypes of B. burgdorferi. [...] This new potential vaccine, known as VLA15, is currently the only active Lyme disease vaccine in clinical development. Back in 1998, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a Lyme disease vaccine known as LYMErix. It was withdrawn from the market just three years later following doubts over its effectiveness and other contentions. Much of the controversy, however, was often said to have been kicked up by the anti-vaccination movement, which was growing in momentum at the time.

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An Amazon Ad Prompted Steve Jobs and Phil Schiller To Block In-App Purchases of Kindle Books On iOS

Sat, 08/01/2020 - 05:00
According to a collection of internal emails recently released by lawmakers, as part of the House Judiciary Committee's antirust probe into Apple, a series of Amazon advertisements prompted Steve Jobs and Phil Schiller to block in-app purchases of Kindle books on iOS. 9to5Mac reports: As it stands today, the Kindle app for iPhone and iPad does not allow users to purchase ebooks directly. Users can read the ebooks they've already purchased, but to buy new ones, they have to use Safari. This is Amazon's way of avoiding giving Apple a 30% cut of ebook purchases, which would be required if Amazon sold ebooks directly within the Kindle app itself. What's important to remember is that this sort of arrangement wasn't always the case. Up until early 2011, you could buy Kindle ebooks directly in the Kindle app on iOS. As first uncovered by the Verge, two sets of emails included in the internal documents include conversations between Steve Jobs, Phil Schiller, and other Apple executives regarding this situation. In one email, Schiller explained that Apple initially made an exception for Amazon because "users would be buying books on a Kindle device and later accessing them on iPhone." As Apple sold more iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches, however, Schiller thought it was time to drop this exception. In fact, what actually prompted Schiller to reinvestigate this situation, according to the emails, is that Amazon ran a series of advertisements on how you could still access your Kindle books if you switched from iPhone to Android or vice versa. [...] These conversations were taking place as Apple was also planning to announce new App Store policies for subscriptions. In his response, Jobs said that Apple could say Amazon "must use our payment system for everything" and say the change was triggered by the new newspapers and magazines subscription policies. "If they want to compare us to Android, let's force them to use our far superior payment system," Jobs wrote. "It's time for them to use our payment mechanism or bow out," Jobs said in a separate email. In response to an email from Cue, Jobs also emphasized that iBooks would be the only bookstore on iOS devices: "I think this is all pretty simple -- iBooks is going to be the only bookstore on iOS devices. We need to hold our heads high. One can read books bought elsewhere, just not buy/rent/subscribe from iOS without paying us, which we acknowledge is prohibitive for many things."

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Amazon To Invest $10 Billion In Space-Based Internet System

Sat, 08/01/2020 - 02:00
Yesterday, the FCC approved Amazon's plans for its ambitious Kuiper constellation of 3,236 internet-beaming satellites. We have now learned that Amazon will invest $10 billion into the space-based internet delivery system. From a report: The U.S. tech giant said on Thursday it is moving forward with its Project Kuiper, one of several systems planned to bring internet to customers without land-based connections. Project Kuiper aims to deliver satellite-based broadband services in the United States, and eventually around the world, and may offer connectively for wireless carriers and 5G networks. Amazon offer no timetable for the project but said it would begin deployment of its 3,236 satellites after the Federal Communications Commission approved the project. "We have heard so many stories lately about people who are unable to do their job or complete schoolwork because they don't have reliable internet at home," said Amazon senior vice president Dave Limp. "There are still too many places where broadband access is unreliable or where it doesn't exist at all. Kuiper will change that. Our $10 billion investment will create jobs and infrastructure around the United States that will help us close this gap."

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