The Facebook Users Who Can't Get Their Accounts Back

"While many users are abandoning Facebook, fed up with what seems like a never-ending series of privacy violations, a small cohort find themselves in the opposite position," reports New York Times enterprise reporter Kashmir Hill. [Alternate source here.] "They've been kicked off the platform, and no matter how hard they try -- and they try really, really hard -- they can't get back on..." In Facebook's version of a justice system, users are told only that their accounts have been disabled for "suspicious activity." If they appeal -- via a terse form that will accept only a name, contact information and an image of an ID -- a mysterious review process begins. The wait can be endless, and the inability to contact a Facebook employee maddening. Increasingly agitated, Facebook castaways turn for help to Twitter, Reddit, Quora, message boards and, well, me. Because I have a history of writing about (and sometimes solving) people's troubles with the platform, profoundly addicted Facebook users have found their way to my inbox, emailing multiple times a day for updates about their cases, which I do not have... With more than 2 billion active members, Facebook has long been criticized for allowing bad actors to proliferate on its platform, from violent extremists to identity thieves. In May, the company announced that it disabled more than 3 billion "fake accounts" over a six-month period. "Our intent is simple: find and remove as many as we can while removing as few authentic accounts as possible," wrote Alex Schultz, Facebook's vice president for analytics, in an accompanying post... But the number of people complaining about disabled Facebook accounts has been going up for years, according to data from the Federal Trade Commission, which tracked three such complaints in 2015, 12 in 2016, and more than 50 in each of the last two years. Once Facebook disables an account, Mr. Schultz wrote, it keeps the person behind it from rejoining by deploying "advanced detection systems" that look for "patterns of using suspicious email addresses, suspicious actions, or other signals previously associated with other fake accounts we've removed...." When Facebook reviewed 14 disabled accounts belonging to users contacted by The New York Times, the company said that just five had been banned with cause. Facebook suggested that the others should simply go through the appeals process again; most did, but none of their accounts have been reactivated so far. According to the article, Facebook's voicemail system tells callers to press one for phone support -- then plays a recording saying "Thank you for calling Facebook user operations. Unfortunately, we do not offer phone support at this time." Then it hangs up. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2019-08-25 00:45:01 preview's
How Do We Colonize the Moon?

Welcome back to our series on Colonizing the Solar System! Today, we take a look at that closest of celestial neighbors to Earth. That’s right, we’re taking a look at the Moon! Chances are, we’ve all heard about it more than once in our lifetimes and even have some thoughts of our own on the … Continue reading "How Do We Colonize the Moon?" The post How Do We Colonize the Moon? appeared first on Universe Today.
2019-08-24 23:30:01 preview's
VW Recalls 679K Cars With Faulty Micro Switch That 'May Roll Away'

"Volkswagen issued a recall Friday of 679,000 vehicles for risk that they may roll away," reports the New York Daily News: Models recalled include certain 2011 through 2019 Beetles and Beetle convertibles, GTIs, Golfs, Golf SportWagens and Jettas that have automatic transmissions, manual hand brakes and keyless entry. "In affected vehicles, a micro switch which indicates the position of the shift lever may fail, allowing the key to be removed from the ignition switch without the shift lever being in the in the "P" Park position," a spokesperson for the German automaker told the Daily News in an email. "If the ignition key is removed without the shift lever being in the "P" Park position, there is a risk the vehicle may roll away, resulting in a crash." The spokesperson added that the company "is not aware of any crashes, injuries or fatalities related to this recall." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2019-08-24 23:15:01 preview's
'Cheating Volkswagen Diesels Have Become A Hot Commodity'

Remember the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal? "In the end, after paying huge fines and seeing key executives head to prison, VW agreed to buy back nearly 380,000 of the offending cars in the United States, to fix or scrap," reports the New York Times. But this week the director of industry analytics for online car marketplace CarGurus tells them that VW has now added more share in certified pre-owned sales than any other brand. Jalopnik reports: The resulting used VWs are surprisingly compelling, which is why -- according to a report from the New York Times -- people can't get enough of them... That demand, the story says, is driven by the vehicles' impressive fuel economy, the warranty that the government required VW to offer on all re-sold vehicles, and the dearth of other diesel car options on the market... It's an interesting look at how these once vilified automobiles have once again fallen into favor thanks to what what made the vehicles popular in the first place: They are just impressively fuel efficient. Oh, and the government-mandated warranty, too. That helps. Aexecutive analyst at J.D. Power Valuation Services tells the Times that a used VW now costs about the same as a gas model. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2019-08-24 21:45:02 preview's
Ask Slashdot: How Do You Estimate the Cost of an Algorithm Turned Into an ASIC?

"Another coder and I are exploring the possibility of having a video-processing algorithm written in C turned into an ASIC ("Application Specific Integrated Circuit") hardware chip that could go inside various consumer electronics devices," writes Slashdot reader dryriver. The problem? There seems to be very little good information on how much a 20Kb, or 50Kb or indeed a 150Kb algorithm written in the C language would cost to turn in an ASIC or "Custom Chip". We've been told that "the chip-design engineering fees alone would likely start at around $500,000." We've been told "the cost per ASIC will fluctuate wildly depending on whether you are having 50,000 ASICS manufactured or 5 million ASICs manufactured." Is there some rough way to calculate from the source code size of an algorithm -- lets say 100 Kilobytes of C code, or 1000 lines of code -- a rough per-unit estimate of how much the ASIC hardware equivalent might cost to make? Why do we need this? Because we want to pitch our video processing tech to a company that makes consumer products, and they will likely ask us, "So... how many dollars of extra cost will this new video processing chip of yours add to our existing products?" There were some interesting suggestions on the original submission, including the possibility of C to HDL converters or a system on a chip (SoC). But are there any other good alternatives? Leave your own thoughts here in the comments. How do you estimate the cost of an algorithm turned into an ASIC? Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2019-08-24 19:45:02 preview's
UK Cybersecurity Agency Urges Devs To Drop Python 2

Python's End-of-Life date is 129 days away, warns the UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). "There will be no more bug fixes, or security updates, from Python's core developers." An anonymous reader quotes ZDNet: The UK's cyber-security agency warned developers Thursday to consider moving Python 2.x codebases to the newer 3.x branch due to the looming end-of-life of Python 2, scheduled for January 1, 2020... "If you continue to use unsupported modules, you are risking the security of your organisation and data, as vulnerabilities will sooner or later appear which nobody is fixing." "If you maintain a library that other developers depend on, you may be preventing them from updating to 3," the agency added. "By holding other developers back, you are indirectly and likely unintentionally increasing the security risks of others... If migrating your code base to Python 3 is not possible, another option is to pay a commercial company to support Python 2 for you," the NCSC said. The agency warns that companies who don't invest in migrating their Python 2.x code might end up in the same position as Equifax or the WannaCry victims. "At the NCSC we are always stressing the importance of patching. It's not always easy, but patching is one of the most fundamental things you can do to secure your technology," the agency said. "The WannaCry ransomware provides a classic example of what can happen if you run unsupported software," it said. "By making the decision to continue using Python 2 past its end of life, you are accepting all the risks that come with using unsupported software, while knowing that a secure version is available." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2019-08-24 19:00:02,40235.html#xtor=RSS-5 preview's
New TU102-Based Nvidia RTX GPU Appears to Be Purpose-Built for GeForce Now

A new RTX GPU shows up powering GeForce Now servers.
2019-08-24 17:30:01,40234.html#xtor=RSS-5 preview's
Thermaltake Finally Launches A700TG EATX Case Announced At Computex

That would be the A700 Aluminum Tempered Glass Edition Full Tower Chassis, for the long-winded marketers.
2019-08-24 16:30:01 preview's
Astrobotic is Going to Use a Vulcan Rocket For its Lunar Lander in 2021

The commercial delivery company Astriobiotic will be working with the ULA to send payloads to the Moon for NASA beginning in 2021. The post Astrobotic is Going to Use a Vulcan Rocket For its Lunar Lander in 2021 appeared first on Universe Today.
2019-08-24 16:30:01 preview's
This wonderful turbine-powered car should have won at Pebble Beach

But why didn't the world's most beautiful car win best in show?
2019-08-24 15:00:02