Windows 10 Icons Are Getting An Overdue Redesign
technology - Posted On:2020-02-20 20:29:59 Source: slashdot
Microsoft is rolling out updates to the icons for Windows 10's core apps over the months ahead, starting with the Calendar and Mail apps in a new Release Preview for Windows Insiders in the Fast ring. Engadget reports: The company's design team explained that it wanted to break away from the flat, colorless icons you see today in favor of ones that are at once more consistent with newer branding (including apps available beyond Windows) and different enough that you'll have an easier time finding the one you want. This is arguably an overdue move. Microsoft hadn't really touched Windows 10's main icons since its debut in 2015, so they risked feeling old. There were also inconsistencies creeping in, especially once Office got its new look. This update drags Windows 10's appearance into the modern era, and might just give you a more colorful OS in the bargain. "Flat, monochrome icons look great in context of colorful tiles, but as more icon styles enter the ecosystem, this approach needs to evolve," reveals Christina Koehn, a design leader for Windows and Devices at Microsoft. "When icons in the taskbar and Start menu are different styles, it creates more cognitive load to scan and find applications. We needed to incorporate more visual cues into the icon design language using our modernized Fluent Design Language." You can read more about Microsoft's approach to updating the icons in Windows 10 in this Medium post. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Facebook Will Now Pay You For Your Voice Recordings
technology - Posted On:2020-02-20 20:14:58 Source: slashdot
After being caught listening to and transcribing voice recordings without informing customers, Facebook announced it will now offer to pay some users for voice recordings to help improve its speech recognition technology. The Verge reports: Facebook will let you make voice recordings as part of a new program called "Pronunciations" in its Viewpoints market research app. If you qualify to be part of the program, Facebook says you'll be able to record the phrase "Hey Portal" followed by the first name of a friend from your friends list. You'll be able to do this with the names of up to 10 friends, and you have to record each statement twice. Facebook won't be paying much for your recordings, though. If you complete one set of recordings, you get 200 points in the Viewpoints app -- and you can't cash out in the Viewpoints app until you earn at least 1,000 points. That only translates to a $5 reward via PayPal. However, Facebook says users may be offered the opportunity to make up to five sets of recordings, so there is the potential to meet that 1,000-point goal and get paid. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Should Facebook, Google Be Liable For User Posts?
technology - Posted On:2020-02-20 19:59:59 Source: slashdot
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Wednesday questioned whether Facebook, Google and other major online platforms still need the immunity from legal liability that has prevented them from being sued over material their users post. "No longer are tech companies the underdog upstarts. They have become titans," Barr said at a public meeting held by the Justice Department to examine the future of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. "Given this changing technological landscape, valid questions have been raised about whether Section 230's broad immunity is necessary at least in its current form," he said. Section 230 says online companies such as Facebook, Alphabet's Google and Twitter cannot be treated as the publisher or speaker of information they provide. This largely exempts them from liability involving content posted by users, although they can be held liable for content that violates criminal or intellectual property law. The increased size and power of online platforms has also left consumers with fewer options, and the lack of feasible alternatives is a relevant discussion, Barr said, adding that the Section 230 review came out of the Justice Department's broader look at potential anticompetitive practices at tech companies. Lawmakers from both major political parties have called for Congress to change Section 230 in ways that could expose tech companies to more lawsuits or significantly increase their costs. Barr said the department would not advocate a position at the meeting. But he hinted at the idea of allowing the U.S. government to take action against recalcitrant platforms, saying it was "questionable" whether Section 230 should prevent the American government from suing platforms when it is "acting to protect American citizens." The attorney general of Nebraska, Doug Peterson, noted that the law does not shield platforms from federal criminal prosecution; the immunity helps protect against civil claims or a state-level prosecution. Peterson said the exception should be widened to allow state-level action as well. Addressing the tech industry, he called it a "pretty simple solution" that would allow local officials "to clean up your industry instead of waiting for your industry to clean up itself." Matt Schruers, president of the Computer and Communications Industry Association, which counts Google and Facebook among its members, said such a solution would result in tech giants having to obey 50 separate sets of laws governing user content. He suggested law enforcement's energies might be better spent pursuing the millions of tips that the tech industry sent over every year, only a small fraction of which, he noted, resulted in investigations. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
A Group of Ex-NSA and Amazon Engineers Are Building a 'GitHub For Data'
technology - Posted On:2020-02-20 19:14:59 Source: slashdot
A group of engineers and developers with backgrounds from the National Security Agency, Google, and Amazon Web Services are working on Gretel, an early-stage startup that aims to help developers safely share and collaborate with sensitive data in real time. TechCrunch reports: It's not as niche of a problem as you might think, said Alex Watson, one of the co-founders. Developers can face this problem at any company, he said. Often, developers don't need full access to a bank of user data -- they just need a portion or a sample to work with. In many cases, developers could suffice with data that looks like real user data. "It starts with making data safe to share," Watson said. "There's all these really cool use cases that people have been able to do with data." He said companies like GitHub, a widely used source code sharing platform, helped to make source code accessible and collaboration easy. "But there's no GitHub equivalent for data," he said. And that's how Watson and his co-founders, John Myers, Ali Golshan and Laszlo Bock came up with Gretel. "We're building right now software that enables developers to automatically check out an anonymized version of the data set," said Watson. This so-called "synthetic data" is essentially artificial data that looks and works just like regular sensitive user data. Gretel uses machine learning to categorize the data -- like names, addresses and other customer identifiers -- and classify as many labels to the data as possible. Once that data is labeled, it can be applied access policies. Then, the platform applies differential privacy -- a technique used to anonymize vast amounts of data -- so that it's no longer tied to customer information. "It's an entirely fake data set that was generated by machine learning," said Watson. The startup has already raised $3.5 million in seed funding. "Gretel said it will charge customers based on consumption -- a similar structure to how Amazon prices access to its cloud computing services," adds TechCrunch. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Microsoft To Bring Its Defender Antivirus Software To iOS and Android
it - Posted On:2020-02-20 16:29:59 Source: slashdot
Microsoft said today it plans to bring its antivirus software, Defender Advanced Threat Protection, to phones and other devices running Apple's iOS and Google's Android. From a report: The software, also called Defender ATP, is already available on Windows and MacOS. It offers features like preventive protection, post-breach detection and automated investigation and response, according to Microsoft. When it comes to mobile devices, Microsoft's Rob Lefferts said that the Defender software could help companies protect employees from things like malware and phishing attacks. Apple's and Google's app stores are "pretty safe," Lefferts said, but "malware does happen on those platforms." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Google AI No Longer Uses Gender Binary Tags on Images of People
technology - Posted On:2020-02-20 16:00:00 Source: slashdot
Google's image-labeling AI tool will no longer label pictures with gender tags like "man" and "woman." From a report: In the email, Google cites its ethical rules on AI as the basis for the change. This is a progressive move by Google -- and one that will hopefully set a precedent for the rest of the AI industry. Ethics aside, Google also says it's made this change because it isn't possible to infer gender from someone's appearance. Google is correct on that count. AI's tendency toward a gender binary might be helpful in blunt categorization, but there are also many gender identities that fall on the spectrum outside of "man" and "woman." Though Google doesn't go as far as saying so in its policies, removing the gender binary from its AI actively makes the software more inclusive of transgender and non-binary people. It's a move that the rest of the tech industry would do well to emulate. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Trump Backs Supporter Larry Ellison in Court Fight With Google
technology - Posted On:2020-02-20 15:14:59 Source: slashdot
kimanaw shares a report: The Trump administration urged the U.S. Supreme Court to reject an appeal by Alphabet's Google, boosting Oracle's bid to collect more than $8 billion in royalties for Google's use of copyrighted programming code in the Android operating system. The administration weighed in on the high-stakes case on the same day that President Donald Trump attended a re-election campaign fundraiser in California hosted by Oracle's co-founder, billionaire Larry Ellison. Ellison hosted a golf outing and photos with Trump. The event cost a minimum of $100,000 per couple to attend, with a higher ticket price of $250,000 for those who wanted to participate in a policy roundtable with the president, the Palm Springs Desert Sun reported. Google is challenging an appeals court ruling that it violated Oracle copyrights when it included some Oracle-owned Java programming code in Android. The dispute has split Silicon Valley, pitting developers of software code against companies that use the code to create programs. Google's "verbatim copying" of Oracle's code into a competing product wasn't necessary to foster innovation, the U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco said Wednesday in a filing with the court. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Twitter is Testing New Ways To Fight Misinformation
technology - Posted On:2020-02-20 14:29:59 Source: slashdot
Twitter is experimenting with adding brightly colored labels directly beneath lies and misinformation posted by politicians and public figures, according to a leaked demo of new features sent to NBC News. From the report: Twitter confirmed that the leaked demo, which was accessible on a publicly available site, is one possible iteration of a new policy to target misinformation it plans to roll out March 5. In this version, disinformation or misleading information posted by public figures will be corrected directly beneath the tweet by fact-checkers and journalists who are verified on the platform, and possibly other users who will participate in a new "community reports" feature, which the demo claims is "like Wikipedia." "We're exploring a number of ways to address misinformation and provide more context for tweets on Twitter," a Twitter spokesperson said. "Misinformation is a critical issue and we will be testing many different ways to address it." The demo features bright red and orange badges for tweets that have been deemed "harmfully misleading," in nearly the same size as the tweet itself and prominently displayed directly below the tweet that contains the harmful misinformation. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Researchers Trick Tesla Into Accelerating 50 Miles Per Hour
technology - Posted On:2020-02-19 20:29:58 Source: slashdot
mrwireless writes: Security researchers were able to get multiple Tesla cars to accelerate to 85 miles per hour on a road with a speed limit of 35. They did this by simply modifying the speed limit sign with some black tape, turning a "3" into an "8." Mobileye, the company that produces the Mobileye Eye Q3 for many of Tesla's cars, downplayed the research by suggesting that the modified sign would fool even a human into reading 85 instead of 35. "Autonomous vehicle technology will not rely on sensing alone, but will also be supported by various other technologies and data, such as crowdsourced mapping, to ensure the reliability of the information received from the camera sensors and offer more robust redundancies and safety," the Mobileye spokesperson said in a statement. MIT Technology Review: "Tesla has since moved to proprietary cameras on newer models, and Mobileye EyeQ3 has released several new versions of its cameras that in preliminary testing were not susceptible to this exact attack." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
IRS Sues Facebook For $9 Billion, Says Company Offshored Profits To Ireland
technology - Posted On:2020-02-19 18:30:00 Source: slashdot
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Fox Business: Facebook is slated to begin a tax trial in a San Francisco court on Tuesday, as the Internal Revenue Service tries to convince a judge the world's largest social media company owes more than $9 billion linked to its decision to shift profits to Ireland. The trial, which Facebook expects will take three to four weeks, could see top executives including hardware chief Andrew Bosworth and Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer called to testify, according to a document the company filed in January. The witness list also includes Naomi Gleit and Javier Olivan, veterans of Facebook's aggressive growth team, and Chief Revenue Officer David Fischer. The IRS argues that Facebook understated the value of the intellectual property it sold to an Irish subsidiary in 2010 while building out global operations, a move common among U.S. multinationals. Ireland has lower corporate tax rates than the United States, so the move reduced the company's tax bill. Under the arrangement, Facebook's subsidiaries pay royalties to the U.S.-based parent for access to its trademark, users and platform technologies. From 2010 to 2016, Facebook Ireland paid Facebook U.S. more than $14 billion in royalties and cost-sharing payments, according to the court filing. The company said the low valuation reflected the risks associated with Facebook's international expansion, which took place in 2010 before its IPO and the development of its most lucrative digital advertising products. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Microsoft Has a Subdomain Hijacking Problem
it - Posted On:2020-02-19 17:44:59 Source: slashdot
A security researcher has pointed out that Microsoft has a problem in managing its thousands of subdomains, many of which can be hijacked and used for attacks against users, its employees, or for showing spammy content. From a report: The issue has been brought up this week by Michel Gaschet, a security researcher and a developer for NIC.gp. In an interview with ZDNet, Gaschet said that during the past three years, he's been reporting subdomains with misconfigured DNS records to Microsoft, but the company has either ignored those reports or silently secured some subdomains, but not all. Gaschet says he reported 21 msn.com subdomains that were vulnerable to hijacks to Microsoft in 2017, and then another 142 misconfigured microsoft.com subdomains in 2019. Further, the researcher also privately shared with ZDNet another list of 117 microsoft.com subdomains that he also reported to Microsoft last year. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Google Launches Android 11 Developer Preview 1
technology - Posted On:2020-02-19 16:30:00 Source: slashdot
An anonymous reader writes: Google today launched the first Android 11 developer preview, available for download now at developer.android.com. The preview includes a preview SDK for developers with system images for the Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3a, Pixel 3a XL, Pixel 4, Pixel 4 XL, and the official Android Emulator. While it's the fifth year running that Google has released the first developer preview of the next Android version in Q1, this is the earliest developer preview yet. Android N (later named Android Nougat), Android O (Android Oreo), Android P (Android Pie), and Android Q (Android 10) were all first shown off in the month of March. Last year, Google used the Android Beta Program, which lets you get early Android builds via over-the-air updates on select devices. This year, however, Google is not making the first preview available as a beta (you'll need to manually flash your device). In other words, Android 11 is not ready for early adopters to try, just developers. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Microsoft's Office App That Replaces Word, Excel, and PowerPoint Hits General Availability
it - Posted On:2020-02-19 12:00:00 Source: slashdot
Microsoft today launched Office for Android and iOS in general availability. The unified app means you no longer need to download, install, and switch between the individual Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps. From a report: The company today also announced new features coming to the app this spring: Word Dictation, Excel Cards View, and Outline to PowerPoint. You can use Office for free, and if you sign in with a Microsoft Account or connect a third-party storage service you can access and store documents in the cloud. Microsoft has over 200 million monthly active Office 365 business users and over 37 million Office 365 consumer subscribers. When the company launched the new Office mobile app as a public preview in November, "tens of thousands of people" rushed to try it. Microsoft has found that most users and businesses want to use the Office app as a hub or starting point for all their document work. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Malaysian Firm Offers AI-Based Profiling of Chinese Visitors for Virus
technology - Posted On:2020-02-19 11:15:01 Source: slashdot
Malaysia's MYEG Services said on Wednesday it had developed a coronavirus risk-profiling system for visitors from China and was offering the artificial intelligence-based service to the governments of Malaysia and the Philippines. From a report: Malaysia has imposed a temporary ban on visitors from Chinese provinces placed on lockdown by the China's government, in a bid to stem the spread of the virus. Malaysia has reported 22 infections, and the Philippines has reported three confirmed cases including one death. MYEG Services Bhd said its system creates a health-risk profile using a person's historical geolocation information and other parameters. MYEG has partnered with Beijing-based travel agency Phoenix Travel Worldwide for the project. The fully-automated system analyses a "vast number of available data points, including visitors' previous known whereabouts as well as heart rate and blood pressure readings crossed-referenced against public transportation ridership and exposure to locations with incidences of infections," MYEG said in a statement to the stock exchange. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Europe Takes on China, US With Plan To Regulate Global Tech
technology - Posted On:2020-02-19 09:59:57 Source: slashdot
U.S. and Chinese firms hoping to deploy artificial intelligence and other technology in Europe will have to submit to a slew of new rules and tests, under a set of plans unveiled by the European Union to boost the bloc's digital economy. From a report: The legislative plans, outlined on Wednesday by the European Commission, the bloc's executive body, are designed to help Europe compete with the U.S. and China's technological power while still championing EU rights. The move is the latest attempt by the bloc to leverage the power of its vast, developed market to set global standards that companies around the world are forced to follow. Big U.S. companies, like Facebook and Alphabet's Google, won't get any reprieve from the Commission, which in its Digital Services Act plans to overhaul rules around legal liability for tech firms, and is also exploring legislation for 'gate-keeping' platforms that control their ecosystems. "It's not us that need to adapt to today's platforms. It's the platforms that need to adapt to Europe," European Industry Commissioner Thierry Breton said at a press conference in Brussels. If they can't find a way adapt to the bloc's standards, "then we will have to regulate and we are ready to do this in the Digital Services Act at the end of this year." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Adobe Photoshop Completes 30 Years, Launches New AI-Powered Features
technology - Posted On:2020-02-19 09:29:57 Source: slashdot
Adobe Photoshop, a synonym and often a verb for manipulated and edited images, has turned 30. After launching its app on iPad last year, the company said it's looking to expand its presence on more platforms in the near future. From a report: On this occasion, Adobe is bringing four AI-powered features to its desktop and iPad apps. On a call earlier this week, executives said they were looking to introduce more features powered by the company's Sensei engine, which was launched in 2016. On desktop, the company is bringing content-aware filling for multiple objects on one go. This feature lets you remove objects and fill the space with the present background, based on your selection. For instance, in the picture below, you can remove the leaf on the ice cream cone and fill it with pink-colored ice cream. Along with this, Adobe is also launching an improved lens-blur function that supports photos with the depth map. The new feature relies on GPU rather than the CPU for processing, and supposedly delivers a more realistic bokeh effect. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
20 Years After Dot-Com Peak, Tech Dominance Keeps Investors on Edge
technology - Posted On:2020-02-18 13:15:00 Source: slashdot
As Wall Street approaches the 20th anniversary of the piercing of the dot-com bubble, today's decade-old rally led by a few small players shows some similarities that cautious investors are keeping an eye on. From a report: March 11, 2000 marked the beginning of a crash of overly-inflated stocks that would last over two years, lead to the failure of investor favorites including Worldcom and Pets.com and take over 13 years for Wall Street to recover from. That bust ended a 1,000% decade-long Nasdaq .IXIC rally that had been fueled by low interest rates and a rush to invest in the emerging World Wide Web, often at any cost. Now, after hitting a record high on Feb. 13, the Nasdaq has reached over 9,700 points, almost double its high point in 2000 and about eight times the level of its trough in 2002. Among the so-called "Four Horsemen" of tech stocks that fueled much of the 1990s tech rally, only Microsoft's stock price has recovered from the dot-com bust. Intel and Cisco Systems remain below their 2000 highs, while Dell, the fourth member, has since been taken private and then relisted on the stock market. Microsoft is dueling with Apple for the title of Wall Street's most valuable publicly listed company, with its stock quadrupling since CEO Satya Nadella took over as chief in 2014 and refocused the maker of Windows on cloud computing, a technology central to the current rally in Silicon Valley stocks. With a market capitalization of $1.4 trillion, Microsoft is now trading at over 30 times expected earnings, its highest valuation since 2002, but still less than half of the highest PE it reached during the dot-com era. Intel and Cisco, no longer among Wall Street's most-favored tech stocks after investors refocused on software, are trading at PEs in line with recent years. Further reading: NYU Professor Scott Galloway adds: In the last 13 months Apple and Amazon have added Disney, AT&T/Time Warner, Fox, Netflix, Comcast, Viacom, MGM, Discovery, and Lionsgate to their market capitalization. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
The Messy, Secretive Reality Behind OpenAI's Bid To Save the World
technology - Posted On:2020-02-18 10:44:56 Source: slashdot
OpenAI has a glossy exterior. In the four short years of its existence, it has catapulted itself to a spot among the leading AI research labs in the world. Part of it is its consistency in producing headline-grabbing research. Part of it is its co-founders Elon Musk and legendary investor Sam Altman. But above all, OpenAI is lionized for its mission. Its goal is to be the first to create artificial general intelligence, or AGI -- a machine with the learning and reasoning powers of a human mind. The purpose is not world domination, but rather, to ensure that the technology is developed safely and its benefits distributed evenly to the world. The implication is that AGI could easily run amok if its development is left to follow the path of least resistance. Narrow intelligence, the kind of clumsy AI that surrounds us today, has already served as an example. We now know that algorithms are biased and fragile; they can perpetrate great abuse and great deception; and the expense of developing and running them tends to concentrate their power in the hands of a few. By extrapolation, AGI could be catastrophic without the careful guidance of a benevolent shepherd. OpenAI wants to be that shepherd, and it has carefully crafted its image to fit the bill. In a field dominated by wealthy corporations, it was founded as a nonprofit. Its charter -- a document so sacred that employees' pay is tied to how well they adhere to it -- declares that OpenAI's "primary fiduciary duty is to humanity." This alluring narrative plays well with investors and the media, and in July Microsoft injected the lab with a fresh $1 billion. But a report on MIT Technology Review, for which it visited OpenAI's office -- and conducted nearly three dozen interviews with past and current employees, collaborators, friends, and other experts in the field -- suggest a different picture. There is a misalignment between what the company publicly espouses and how it operates behind closed doors, the report said. Over time, it has allowed a fierce competitiveness and mounting pressure for ever more funding to erode its founding ideals of transparency, openness, and collaboration. Employees' accounts suggest that OpenAI, for all its noble aspirations, is obsessed with maintaining secrecy, protecting its image, and retaining the loyalty of its employees. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Five Years After the Equation Group HDD Hacks, Firmware Security Still Sucks
it - Posted On:2020-02-18 09:44:57 Source: slashdot
In a report published today, Eclypsium, a cyber-security firm specialized in firmware security, says that the issue of unsigned firmware is still a widespread problem among device and peripheral manufactures. From a report: According to researchers, many device makers still don't sign the firmware they ship for their components. Furthermore, even if they sign a device's firmware, they don't enforce checks for the firmware signature every time the driver/firmware is loaded, but only during installation. Researchers say this leaves the door open for malicious actors to tamper with local firmware after it's been installed in order to plant persistent and nearly invisible malware on user devices. To prove their point, in their report, the Eclypsium team disclosed vulnerabilities in four types of peripheral firmware -- for touchpads/trackpads, cameras, WiFi adapters, and USB hubs. "Apple performs signature verification on all files in a driver package, including firmware, each time before they are loaded into the device, to mitigate this type of attack," the Eclypsium team said. "In contrast, Windows and Linux only perform this type of verification when the package is initially installed." But while some might be quick to blame the operating systems for not enforcing a stricter firmware signing practice, the Eclypsium team is not on this boat. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Pier 1 Files For Bankruptcy, Warns of Dangers In Handful of Online Vendors Dominating Retail Sales
technology - Posted On:2020-02-17 21:14:59 Source: slashdot
Pier 1 Imports filed for bankruptcy Monday (Warning: source paywalled; alternative source), "a victim of changing consumer tastes and an unforgiving retail environment," reports The Wall Street Journal. "Unlike many other retailers that have sought bankruptcy in recent years, the publicly traded Pier 1 -- with assets of $426.6 million and listed total debt of $258.3 million -- isn't weighed down with debt from an ill-timed leveraged buyout. Rather the company's struggles can be traced to increasing competition from online players, mass merchants and off-price retailers, such as Wayfair, TJX, HomeGoods, Bed Bath & Beyond, Cost Plus World Market and Amazon." From the report: Those rivals have increasingly moved into selling home furnishings and merchandise that were once virtually the exclusive domain of Pier 1, according to Hart Posen, a professor of management at the University of Wisconsin. "You'd see something in someone's house -- a wicker-rattan chair or an elephant-themed umbrella holder -- and know it came from Pier 1," Mr. Posen said. "You could buy it at Pier 1 or nowhere, but that's just not the case anymore." The emergence of online operators such as Wayfair have rendered the backdrop for traditional chains all the more difficult, according to Oppenheimer & Co. analyst Brian Nagel. But there were also missteps that led Pier 1 to bankruptcy. The company was late to embrace e-commerce and was forced to build an online business from virtually nothing, said Mr. Nagel. Along the way, it had to absorb the costs of building distribution centers and other infrastructure, while also adjusting to the tighter margins from online sales. "When the company finally made its move online, it did so in a way that cannibalized the volumes and profitability of its physical stores," said Mr. Nagel. The Fort Worth, Texas-based company tried to revitalize the business with a program dubbed "Pier 1 2021: A New Day," but that effort failed. "The bankruptcy filing comes after the chain made it through the critical holiday shopping season," adds The Wall Street Journal. "In early January, Pier 1 said it planned to close nearly half of its nearly 940 stores and a number of distribution centers. It had already hired a liquidation company to help close the locations. Pier 1 said it intends to use the bankruptcy process to complete closure of some 450 stores, including closing all of its locations in Canada." Read more of this story at Slashdot.