Chinese web giant Tencent has admitted to a significant account hijack attack on its QQ.com messaging and social media platform. In a post to rival social media platform Sina Weibo – a rough analog of Twitter – Tencent apologized for the incident. The problem manifested on Sunday night and saw an unnamed number of QQ users complain their credentials no longer allowed them access to their accounts. Tencent has characterized that issue as representing "stolen" accounts. Tencent asserts the incident stared with criminals posting QR codes that claimed to offer game logins. Users who scanned the codes were asked to authenticate using their QQ creds. Which was a mistake, as the criminals behind the scam observed those logins. A machine translation of Tencent's explanation produces the phrase "the login behavior was hijacked and recorded by the black industry gang, and then used by criminals to send bad picture ads," which does not read like something you want to happen. Users were also locked out of their accounts. Tencent's security team swung into action and the company stated that by early Monday morning accounts had been restored. The web giant is now gathering evidence to share with local authorities and has pledged co-operation. Tencent's WeChat wants no more talk of cryptocurrency and NFTs Tencent completes 50 million core migration of its own apps to its own clouds Tencent happily parting ways with loss-making cloud customers Those authorities are likely to be interested in Tencent and whoever created the poison QR codes, as China has recently made it clear it expects its web giants to take their responsibility to the nation seriously. If Tencent is held to have provided insufficient security to prevent this incident, a "rectification notice" will soon be headed its way. Such notices are usually resolved with some behind the scenes work to fix the issue and then a public admission that the entity in receipt of the notice should really have done better to begin with and won't be so lax again. China has in recent weeks eased its criticism of its web giants, and suggested their expansion is acceptable provided the
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India's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and the local Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) have extended the deadline for compliance with the Cyber Security Directions introduced on April 28, which were due to take effect yesterday. The Directions require verbose logging of users' activities on VPNs and clouds, reporting of infosec incidents within six hours of detection - even for trivial things like unusual port scanning - exclusive use of Indian network time protocol servers, and many other burdensome requirements. The Directions were purported to improve the security of local organisations, and to give CERT-In information it could use to assess threats to India. Yet the Directions allowed incident reports to be sent by fax – good ol' fax – to CERT-In, which offered no evidence it operates or would build infrastructure capable of ingesting or analyzing the millions of incident reports it would be sent by compliant organizations. The Directions w
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If you buy something from a Verge link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement. For millions of Americans, finding abortion services in the US just became a legal minefield. With the Supreme Court’s ruling on Friday, suddenly “how to find an abortion” is a lot more complicated than a simple Google search. Abortion is now illegal or restricted in nine states, with many more planning to outlaw procedures in the coming weeks. People seeking abortions in those states may now be at risk of investigation or prosecution, and many privacy advocates are warning that those people’s search history, medical records, or other data could be used against them in court. In some notable cases, they’ve seen it happen already. The Verge talked to experts about where they see the greatest privacy vulnerabilities for people seeking abortions in a post-Roe United States — and how people can protect their information. How law enforcement will know if you had an abortion Let’s start with how a person might get flagged for investigation in the first place. If you are on social media at all, you might think period trackers play a major role in prosecutions (more on those later). But many cases start at the doctor’s office. According to the National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW), which provides legal defense for pregnant people targeted by abortion restrictions, one of the most common ways for a prosecution to begin is with healthcare providers. “At NAPW, we have had many, many cases where people are criminalized because healthcare providers have reported them to the police,“ says Dana Sussman, acting executive director at NAPW. “In many of our cases, the site of care is also the site of criminalization, even in the pre-Dobbs reality.” A doctor normally isn’t able to disclose personal health information because of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, commonly referred to as HIPAA. But under HIPAA, doctors and medical organizations are allowed to report personal health information if they think that a crime has been committed at the institution or tell law enforcement if they think there’s criminal activity happening at the site of a medical emergency. In states where abortion is a crime, a doctor could report that they think one was performed — and police could use that report as grounds to begin a more serious investigation. “People who aren’t terribly familiar with medical records tend to think HIPAA is much more protective than it actually is,” says Carly Zubrzycki, a health law professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law. HIPAA also doesn’t apply to all groups that might seem to be providing medical care. The risk is particularly acute at crisis pregnancy centers: sites operated by anti-abortion activists that work to guide women to abortion alternatives in the guise of providing healthcare. These sites can collect information on the pregnancies of anyone who walks through the door and tie it to contact information and other data. Because these centers offer counseling rather than medical care, they are generally not subject to restrictions on health data — and because they’re run with the explicit goal of discouraging women from getting abortions, they may be eager to collaborate with investigations when they suspect a person has sought care elsewhere. “They are dating pregnancies, they are confirming pregnancies, and they are operating in states that are extremely hostile to abortion rights,” says Sussman. “They can create all sorts of problems for people who are pregnant and having an abortion.” The Crisis Pregnancy Center Map, an academic project from the University of Georgia, identifies more than 2,500 such centers across the US, more than triple the number of abortion clinics. Groups like NAPW and Digital Defense Fund recommend that pregnant people avoid them completely. In other cases, police follow up on tips made by angry partners or just casual acquaintances, emphasizing the importance of keeping the medical details as private as possible. The reproductive rights group If/When/How deals with many of these cases through its legal helpline, and senior counsel Farah Diaz-Tello says cases usually begin with a personal report. “The precipitating factor is always someone else reporting them to law enforcement, who then have the power to seize people’s devices,” Diaz-Tello told The Verge. “Understanding how to reduce one’s digital footprint is important, but the first line of defense is not sharing information unless absolutely necessary.” After the investigation starts, the risk to personal data increases Once a person comes under investigation, the picture becomes much more complex. It’s impossible to erase every digital trace investigators might find — there are simply too many — but simple precautions can go a long way toward minimizing the risk of a person’s data being used against them. For the purposes of this piece, we’ve avoided more complex tracking systems like IP-based identification or the tracking pixels used in ad networks; neither has a track record of being used in law enforcement investigations of this kind, and there are few accessible tools for avoiding them. Instead, we’ve focused on the most urgent risks and most effective defenses. Still, for anyone protecting patients or defending clients, the sheer volume of data is hard to ignore. “I think law enforcement is more tech-savvy than they’ve ever been in history and have more resources than they’ve ever had,” Jerome Greco, a public defender in the digital forensics unit of the Legal Aid Society in New York City, told The Verge. Once police start looking for data to confirm an abortion took place, there are lots of places to find it. How to protect your search history from an abortion investigation Search history played a role in a particularly prominent recent case, in which Latice Fisher, a Mississippi woman, was charged with second-degree murder after a failed pregnancy. The investigation began with a 911 call from her husband, who believed his wife had given birth only for paramedics to find the fetus unresponsive. Prosecutors later claimed that Fisher confessed to a nurse at a local hospital that she wanted to terminate her pregnancy and had investigated the best methods for doing so. Once the case began, prosecutors drew heavily on Fisher’s search history, which contained searches like “buy Misoprostol abortion pill online.” Notably, local reporting claims the police found record of these searches from Fisher’s own phone rather than through Google itself. But Google does provide data in response to valid court orders, so once an investigation has been launched, a valid court order is enough to get a person’s entire search history. None of that is enough to prove guilt, but it’s a liability for anyone researching abortion services in places where abortion is now illegal. It’s also easy enough to avoid. Signing out of Google or using a privacy-minded search engine like DuckDuckGo will prevent searches from showing up in a search history. There is a more aggressive version of this warrant, called a “reverse keyword search warrant,” which would proactively identify users searching for a specific query. It’s a broad and alarming power and has given rise to a concern about dragnet surveillance around terms related to abortion. But, in practice, these warrants have only been issued for queries tied to specific incidents, like the name of a trafficking victim or the address of a building targeted by arson. As a result, it’s unlikely that a general term like “how to hide a body” or “how to obtain misoprostol” would be sufficient grounds for such a warrant, and Google has contested those requests in other contexts. Are period-tracking apps really a threat? Apps that collect and store health information, like period trackers, are notoriously leaky, and many have poor privacy protections. Digital health products aren’t covered by HIPAA, so companies behind them have flexibility around what they do with user data. That’
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Carnival Cruise Lines will cough up more than $6 million to end two separate lawsuits filed by 46 states in the US after sensitive personal information on customers and employees was accessed in a string of cyber attacks. A couple of years ago, as the coronavirus pandemic was taking hold, the Miami-based biz revealed intruders had not only encrypted some of its data but also downloaded a trove of data – names and addresses, Social Security info, driver's license and passport numbers, and health and payment information for thousands of people in almost every American state. It all started to go wrong more than a year earlier, as the cruise line became aware of suspicious activity in May 2019. This apparently wasn't disclosed until March 2020. Back in 2019, the security operations team spotted an internal email account sending spam to other addresses. It turned out miscreants had hijacked 124 employee Microsoft Office 365 email accounts, and were using them to send phishing emails to harvest more credentials. This, we're told, gave the intruders access to personal data on 180,000 Carnival employees and customers. It's likely the baddies first broke in using phishing mails or brute-forcing passwords. Either way, there was no multi-factor authentication. Then in August 2020, the company said it was hit with the aforementioned ransomware, and copies of its files were siphoned. In January 2021, it was infected again with malware, and again sensitive information – specifically, customer passport numbers and dates of birth, and employee credit card numbers – were downloaded. And in March that year, a staffer's work email account was compromised again to send out a phishing email. More sensitive information was exposed. Late last week, New York's Department of Financial Services (DFS) announced Carnival had agreed to pay $5 million to the state as a penalty for falling foul of NY's Cybersecurity Regulation. According to the Dept, Carnival was slipshod in defending its computer systems and data, and in all "had been the subject of four cybersecurity events between 2019 and 2021, including two ransomware attacks." "A data brea
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Google is winding down its messaging app Hangouts before it officially shuts in November, the web giant announced on Monday. Users of the mobile app will see a pop-up asking them to move their conversations onto Google Chat, which is yet another one of its online services. It can be accessed via Gmail as well as its own standalone application. Next month, conversations in the web version of Hangouts will be ported over to Chat in Gmail.  One of Google's warnings to Hangouts users this week, with a link to this page Google encouraged people to download their data using Google Takeout if they
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In yet another sign of how fortunes have changed in the semiconductor industry, Taiwanese foundry giant TSMC is expected to surpass Intel in quarterly revenue for the first time. Wall Street analysts estimate TSMC will grow second-quarter revenue 43 percent quarter-over-quarter to $18.1 billion. Intel, on the other hand, is expected to see sales decline 2 percent sequentially to $17.98 billion in the same period, according to estimates collected by Yahoo Finance. The potential for TSMC to surpass Intel in quarterly revenue is indicative of how demand has grown for contract chip manufacturing,
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The latest version of OpenSSL v3, a widely used open-source library for secure networking using the Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol, contains a memory corruption vulnerability that imperils x64 systems with Intel's Advanced Vector Extensions 512 (AVX512). OpenSSL 3.0.4 was released on June 21 to address a command-injection vulnerability (CVE-2022-2068) that was not fully addressed with a previous patch (CVE-2022-1292). But this release itself needs further fixing. OpenSSL 3.0.4 "is susceptible to remote memory corruption which can be triggered trivially by an attacker," according to security researcher Guido Vranken. We're imagining two devices establishing a secure connection between themselves using OpenSSL and this flaw being exploited to run arbitrary malicious code on one of them. Vranken said that if this bug can be exploited remotely – and it's not certain it can be – it could be more severe than Heartbleed, at least from a purely technical point of view. However, Vranken notes several mitigating factors, including the continued use of the 1.1.1 tree of the library rather than v3 tree; the fork of libssl into LibreSSL and BoringSSL; the short amount of time 3.0.4 has been available; and the fact that the error only affects x64 with AVX512 – available on certain Intel chips released between 2016 and early 2022. Intel this year began disabling AVX512 support on Alder Lake, its 12th Gen Intel Core processors. The bug, an AVX512-specific buffer overflow, was reported six days ago. It has been fixed, but OpenSSL 3.0.5 has not yet been released. Broken password check algorithm lets anyone log into Cisco's Wi-Fi admin software How AI can help reverse-engineer malware: Predicting function names of code OpenSSL patches crash-me bug triggered by rogue certs Open source maintainer threatens to throw in the towel if companies won't ante up Meanwhile, Linux distributions like Gentoo have not yet rolled out OpenSSL 3.0.4 as a result of this bug and a test build failure bug. So they include OpenSSL 3.0.3, with its command injection flaw. In the GitHub Issues thread discussing the bug, Tomáš Mráz, software developer at the OpenSSL Foundation, argues the bug shouldn't be classified as a security vulnerability. "I do not think this is a security vulnerability," he said. "It is just a serious bug making [th
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Taiwan's state-owned energy company is looking to raise prices for industrial users, a move likely to impact chipmakers such as TSMC, which may well have a knock-on effect on the semiconductor supply chain. According to Bloomberg, the Taiwan Power Company, which produces electricity for the island nation, has proposed increasing electricity costs by 15 percent for industrial users, the first increase in four years. The power company has itself been hit by the rising costs of fuel, including the imported coal and natural gas it uses to generate electricity. At the same time, the country is experiencing record demand for power because of increasing industrial requirements and because of high temperatures driving the use of air conditioning, as reported by the local Taipei Times. Taiwan's peak electricity consumption topped 39GW towards the end of last week, which apparently set a new record. Taiwan Power is now predicting that the peak usage figure could easily surpass 40GW this summer. While other countries are also facing rising energy costs, Taiwan holds a key position as one of the dominant players in the global chip market. Taiwanese companies account for 48 per cent of the semiconductor foundry industry and as much as 61 per cent of the world's capacity to manufacture chips using 16nm production nodes or better. According to a report from McKinsey [PDF], electricity can account for up to 30 percent of the operating costs for a chip fabrication plant, with a typical semiconductor fab using as much power in a year as about 50,000 homes. A significant rise in energy prices is therefore likely to result in higher chip prices as the costs are passed on to customers. Taiwan-based TSMC and other semiconductor foundry companies had already been planning to increase the prices they charge for manufacturing chips, as we reported previously. Chinese startup hires chip godfather and TSMC vet to break into DRAM biz Top chip foundries grow amid electronics spending slowdown. Except Samsung Semiconductor boom could be coming to an end – analysts US to help Japan make leading-edge 2nm chips, possibly by 2025 Meanwhile, analyst firm Omdia last week reported that the semiconductor market is flattening out after a period of record revenues for the chipmakers, reaching a plateau in the first quarter of 2022 following five straight quarters of record revenues and continual growth in demand. Omdia predicted that the chip industry is heading for a slowdown because of companies stockpiling components, in addition to broader global economic issues and inflation. A rise in component prices due to growing energy costs is likely to add to the market uncertainty. Earlier this month it was reported that chip manufacturers are investing heavily in new production facilities in order to overcome any chip supply issues. Semiconductor industry group SEMI said it expected that Taiwanese firms will increase spending on equipment by 52 percent to $34 billion, accounting for 31 percent of total investments expected this year. TSMC also recently revealed details of its much-anticipated 2nm production process node, which is set to
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DDOSED — DDoSes aim to punish Baltic country's blockade of shipments to Kaliningrad. Enlarge / Drowning in a sea of data. Internet services in Lithuania came under "intense" distributed denial of service attacks on Monday as the pro-Russia threat-actor group Killnet took credit. Killnet said its attacks were in retaliation regarding Lithuania's recent banning of shipments sanctioned by the European Union to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad. Lithuania's government said that the flood of malicious traffic disrupted parts of the Secure National Data Transfer Network, which it says is "one of the critical components of Lithuania's strategy on ensuring national security in cyberspace" and "is built to be operational during crises or war to ensure the continuity of activity of critical institutions." The country's Core Center of State Telecommunications was identifying the sites most affected in real time and providing them with DDoS mitigations while also working with international web service providers. "It is highly probable that such or even more intense attacks will continue into the coming days, especially against the communications, energy, and financial sectors," Jonas Skardinskas, acting director of Lithuania's National Cyber Security Center, said in a statement. The statement warned of website defacements, ransomware, and other destructive attacks in the coming days. Leaving much to be desired The attacks came as members of Killnet took to forums on Telegram to boast of the attacks and condemn the Lithuanian government for blocking shipments of some goods to Kaliningrad, which is wedged between Lithuania and Poland and connected to the rest of Russia by a rail link through Lithuania. "We continue to hint unequivocally to the Lithuanian authorities that they should immediately withdraw their decision to ban the transit of Russian cargo from the Kaliningrad region to Russia," one message stated. It claimed that websites for four airports in the Baltic country were crippled. "Thanks to our attacks, they are still available only from Lithuanian IP addresses, and their speed, to put it mildly, leaves much to be desired." Lithuanian government officials didn't immediately respond to a request to comment. Ever since the lead-up to Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February, a host of hacks have come from groups aligned with both sides. In January, for instance, hacktivists in the pro-Russian country of Belarus said they infected the network of the country's state-run railroad system with ransomware and would provide the decryption key only if Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko stopped aiding Russian troops ahead of a possible invasion of Ukraine. Hackers working for or in allegiance with Russia, meanwhile, have unleashed wiper malware dubbed AcidRain that was used in a cyberattack that sabotaged thousands of satellite modems used by Viasat customers. Judgment day Killnet emerged at the start
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Employees at Tesla suffered spotty Wi-Fi and struggled to find desks and parking spots when they were returned to work at the office following orders from CEO Elon Musk. Most tech companies are either following a hybrid work model or are still operating fully remotely. Musk, however, wants his automaker's staff back at the office working for at least 40 hours a week. Those who fail to return risk losing their jobs, he warned in an internal email earlier this month. "Everyone at Tesla is required to spend a minimum of 40 hours in the office per week. Moreover, the office must be where your actual colleagues are located, not some remote pseudo office. If you don't show up, we will assume you
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Saving a bundle — Program meant to lower demand pays home owners to use battery instead of the grid.
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Cryptocurrency exchange FTX is reportedly considering an acquisition of the trading platform Robinhood, according to a report from Bloomberg. Sources close to the situation told Bloomberg that FTX is still weighing the possibility and hasn’t yet made an offer. When asked about the possible buyout, FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried stated that the company currently isn’t in the process of trying to acquire Robinhood. “We are excited about Robinhood’s business prospects and potential ways we could partner with them,” Bankman-Fried said in a statement to Bloomberg. “That being said, there are no active M&A [mergers and acquisitions] conversations with Robinhood.” The Verge reached out
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desperate — For now, a federal appeals court allowed Juul to stay on the market until a legal review.
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The original Overwatch’s days are numbered. Last week, Blizzard revealed in a Reddit AMA that when Overwatch 2 launches on October 4th, it will overwrite Overwatch prime, effectively ending the six-year-old game. “When OW2 launches on October 4th it will be a replacement for the current live service,” wrote game director Aaron Keller. While the changeover will add a wealth of new content — new heroes, new maps, and more — classic Overwatch will cease to be, ending the 6v6 format and banishing the assault game type to the relative obscurity of the custom game corner. The news came as a bit of a surprise since, originally, Overwatch prime and Overwatch 2 were supposed to coexist. During the Overwatch 2 panel at BlizzCon 2019, Aaron Keller, the game’s current director, and Jeff Kaplan, the former game director who left Blizzard over a year ago, described a scenario in which players who upgraded to OW2 would still be able to play with those who didn’t. With players’ unlocked skins and other cosmetics transferring over, and with Overwatch 2 switching to a free-to-play model, it seems then there was no longer a reason to keep the two games siloed. In a comment to The Verge, the Overwatch development team said: “Our goal is to not divide our player base and to make the transition to Overwatch 2 as seamless as possible. To that end, when Overwatch 2 launches as a free-to-play live service game on October 4th, it will replace the current Overwatch build. Content players have unlocked in Overwatch will automatically carry over to players in Overwatch 2.” For players worried about the Overwatch prime features being sunset with the arrival of Overwatch 2 (i.e., loot boxes), the AMA revealed that any unopened loot boxes will have their contents automatically added to your inventory and any unused coins (a currency you earn via loot boxes) will also transfer over. However, Blizzard intends to create a new currency with OW2, and the old coins won’t be able to buy everything on offer. There also won’t be a matchmaking rating reset with the arrival of Overwatch 2. For fans hoping OW2 would bring with it a mass competitive ladder equalization, Scott
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RIP to Google's best messaging app — Hangouts was the primary Google messaging app from 2013–2016. Google It sounds like Google is finally getting ready to move on from Google Hangouts, the company's most successful messaging app to date. A new blog post from the company is finally giving consumer Google Hangouts a shutdown date: November 2022. Today is also the day when existing Google Hangouts users will start getting nagged to switch to Google's hot, new messaging app, Google Chat. The shutdown of Hangouts has been a long time coming. The service launched in 2013 as an in-place upgrade to Google Talk. As Android's default messaging service, Hangouts amassed 5 billion downloads, and at one point, it even handled Android SMS duties, just like Apple's iMessage. The service fell out of favor with Google's legendarily fickle messaging strategy in 2016 with the launch of Google Allo. Google announced in 2018 that Hangouts would eventually be shut down. After several delays, Workspace customers (the paid business version of Google apps) finally had Hangouts removed in March 2022, but regular consumers can still switch between Goo
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America's aviation watchdog has said the rollout of 5G C-band coverage near US airports won't fully start until next year, delaying some travelers' access to better cellular broadband at crowded terminals. Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen said in a statement this month that its discussions with wireless carriers "have identified a path that will continue to enable aviation and 5G C-band wireless to safely co-exist." 5G C-band operates between 3.7-3.98GHz, near the 4.2-4.4GHz band used by radio altimeters that are jolly useful for landing planes in limited visibility. There is or was a fear that these cellular signals, such as from cell towers close to airports, could bleed into the frequencies used by aircraft and cause radio altimeters to display an incorrect reading. C-band technology, which promises faster mobile broadband, was supposed to roll out nationwide on Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile US's networks, but some deployments have been paused near airports due to these concerns.  C-band frequencies allocated to cellular providers are frankly unlikely to have an effect on airline safety. Still, the FAA said it has a job to do: maintain the US' reputation as having the safest aviation "in the world." "If there's the possibility of a risk to the flying public, we are obligated to restrict the relevant flight activity until we can prove it is safe," the FAA said. Earlier this year, the FAA and telcos agreed to delay the rollout near airports until July while affected parties figured out how to resolve any potential interference. Now rather than gradually rollout C-band 5G around airports with a target date of July 2022, it's not July 2023. From now until then, cellular networks will continue extending their coverage with, as the FAA put it, "some level of voluntary mitigations" to cut the risk of any interference. And come next July, the wireless giants can offer 5G "with minimal restrictions." FAA to airlines: 5G-sensitive radio altimeters have to go 5G airports may interfere with Boeing 737s Watchdog clears 90 per cent of US commercial aircraft to land in low visibility at nation's 5G C-band airports Japan solves
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The FTC is warning members of the LGBTQ+ community about online extortion via dating apps such as Grindr and Feeld. According to the American watchdog, a common scam involves a fraudster posing as a potential romantic partner on one of the apps. The cybercriminal sends explicit of a stranger photos while posing as them, and asks for similar ones in return from the mark. If the victim sends photos, the extortionist demands a payment – usually in the form of gift cards – or threatens to share the photos on the chat to the victim's family members, friends, or employer. Such sextortion scams have been going on for years in one form or another, even attempting to hit Reg hacks, and has led to suicides. Crooks can also take another approach. "Other scammers threaten people who are 'closeted' or not yet fully 'out' as LGBTQ+," the FTC wrote in an advisory. "They may pressure you to pay up or be outed, claiming they'll 'ruin your life' by exposing explicit photos or conversations. Whatever their angle, they're after one thing — your money." This extortion are the latest example of criminals using an event to target their victims: Pride Month, which marks the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall protests in Greenwich Village in New York City following a police raid on a bar. It was the tipping point for the gay pride movement. The FTC for months has worked to make LGBTQ+ folk aware of scams that target their community. The latest blast from the agency is similar to one sent out in September 2021. In addition, last month, as part of National Consumer Protection Week, the FTC asked LGBTQ+ people to report scams to educate more than 3,000 law enforcers and to help the agency get the word out to protect others. "Scammers often like to impersonate familiar people, organizations, and companies that we know and trust," the agency wrote. "For the LGBTQ+ community, that can include 'safe spaces'" where people can freely live their lives. The regulator earlier this month reiterated that dating apps are among the most popular ways scammers target LGBTQ+ members, as well as job boards aimed at helping those in the community find welcoming
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Less than a week after IBM was ordered in an age discrimination lawsuit to produce internal emails in which its former CEO and former SVP of human resources discuss reducing the number of older workers, the IT giant chose to settle the case for an undisclosed sum rather than proceed to trial next month. The order, issued on June 9, in Schenfeld v. IBM, describes Exhibit 10, which "contains emails that discuss the effort taken by IBM to increase the number of 'millennial' employees." Plaintiff Eugene Schenfeld, who worked as an IBM research scientist when current CEO Arvind Krishna ran IBM's research group, sued IBM for age discrimination in November, 2018. His claim is one of many that followed a March 2018 report by ProPublica and Mother Jones about a concerted effort to de-age IBM and a
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Amazon may have just revealed the July dates for its Prime Day shopping bonanza, but the company is already prepping a second shopping event for Amazon Prime subscribers for later this year, Business Insider and CNBC report. Information sent to sellers that has been seen by the publications calls it the “Prime Fall Deal Event,” though exactly when in the fall is unclear — CNBC quotes a notice saying it will happen in Q4, while Business Insider reports that “invited sellers say it appears to be scheduled for October.” Last year, Amazon hosted a beauty products event in October, so another sales moment in that timeframe isn’t completely unprecedented. But this year’s fall event sounds like it could be more akin to a Prime Day 2.0, as both the summer and fall sales are “exp
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It’s that time again for another chance to buy a PlayStation 5 directly from Sony. While the console maker often sends out emails for invite-only restocks, this one’s for everyone, and it’s starting now. If you’re lucky, you’ll get through the queue and have the chance to buy a standard disc-equipped $499 PS5 or a $399 PS5 Digital Edition, and if Sony’s last console selling events are anything to go by, there should be bundles of both with Horizon Forbidden West included for a total savings of $20 off the cost of the game. Remember that when buying a PS5 from Sony, you must log in to your PlayStation Network account, and each account can only buy one console. These queues can last up to an hour or more, and the estimated time remaining may jump a little. The key is to stick to it and see if you get lucky. You don’t have to refresh the page at all, so just let it tick away and cross your fingers. If you get beyond the queue, you’ll have your pick of the available consoles and bundles on offer as well as accessories — like colorful controllers or a wireless headset. Be sure not to waste any time and check out right away to minimize the chance of errors or somehow
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The Supreme Court declined Apple’s bid (pdf) for a hearing over two Qualcomm patents (US Patent No. 7,844,037 and US Patent No. 8,683,362) that were part of lawsuits filed in 2017, claiming infringement by Apple’s iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches. Reuters points out that Apple and Qualcomm’s 2019 settlement of a worldwide legal battle over patents largely ended the squabbling in favor of a six-year licensing agreement but allowed a case in front of the Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board to continue. There, Apple argued the two patents should be invalid, but the board ruled in Qualcomm’s favor. Last April, the Federal Circuit court rejected Apple’s request for an appeal based on the 2019 settlement covering thousands of patents, including those two. At the time, Apple argued that its royalty payments and risk of being sued again were reasons for a hearing. Image: Supreme Court (pdf) In its appeal to the Supreme Court (pdf), Apple argued that Qualcomm might use the patents in a lawsuit again once the license expires in 2025 or in 2027 if it’s extended. The Department of Justice under the Biden administration submitted an amicus brief rejecting those arguments in May and asked the Supreme Court to deny Apple’s request. Now that it has, we’ll probably have to wait until that license agreement eventually expires to know what will happen next.
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One of the year’s best budget phones is finally available unlocked in the US. The OnePlus Nord N20 5G launched as a T-Mobile exclusive in April, and that was the only way to get ahold of one — until now. The N20 5G is now up for sale from Amazon, Best Buy, or directly from OnePlus for $299 with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Take note that the unlocked N20 won’t work on Verizon — not on 5G or 4G. AT&T customers will be able to connect to 4G only, which isn’t too bad of a deal given that the carrier is taking a slower approach to expanding its more meaningful mid-band 5G coverage. T-Mobile subscribers will, of course, get 5G and 4G coverage. This makes the unlocked N20 best suited to AT&T customers who don’t need 5G or someone on a T-Mobile MVNO like Google Fi or Mint Mobile. Or maybe you’re on T-Mobile and you just don’t want to buy your phone through your carrier, which is a smart move if you can manage it. If any of the above describes your situation, then you’re in luck! The N20 is one of the best deals in its class. It offers a contrast-rich 6.4-inch OLED screen while virtually all of its competitors include LCDs. It also supports fast 33W wired charging with the included charger and even offers a speedy in-display fingerprint sensor for smooth unlocking. On the downside, the N20 is still on Android 11 — new phones have been shipping with Android 12, the current OS version, for months now. OnePlus has promised an update to Android 12 for the N
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Democrat lawmakers want the FTC to investigate Apple and Google's online ad trackers, which they say amount to unfair and deceptive business practices and pose a privacy and security risk to people using the tech giants' mobile devices. US Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Cory Booker (D-NJ) and House Representative Sara Jacobs (D-CA) requested on Friday that the watchdog launch a probe into Apple and Google, hours before the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, clearing the way for individual states to ban access to abortions.  In the days leading up to the court's
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New meaning to "on deck" — We match good hardware-manufacturing news with a dive into Valve's public-facing data. Aurich Lawson | Getty Images For anyone trying to buy a modern piece of gaming hardware, good news is beginning to peek through the dreary clouds of chip shortages and manufacturing hold-ups. This week's optimism comes from a player outside the expected console- and GPU-making fray. Valve, the longtime software maker responsible f
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Valve is doubling the number of Steam Decks it ships to customers, the company announced Monday. “Production has picked up, and after today we’ll be shipping more than double the number of Steam Decks every week!” Valve said in a tweet from the official Steam Deck account. And in response to a question from my colleague Sean Hollister, Valve designer Lawrence Yang spelled out the change more clearly: “in previous weeks we were shipping x units / week to customers, starting this week we’ll be shipping 2x units / week.” If you’ve been eagerly refreshing your inbox every Monday a
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This story is part of a group of stories called Only the best deals on Verge-approved gadgets get the Verge Deals stamp of approval, so if you're looking for a deal on your next gadget or gift from major retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Target, and more, this is the place to be. Google’s top-tier flagship phone, the Pixel 6 Pro, is on sale for its lowest price yet. Woot is selling new unlocked Pixel 6 Pro phones for $779.99 for today only. You can choose from all three colors (including Sorta Sunny, the best one) until the end of the day or while supplies last. The only storage capacity on offer is the base 128GB amount, which is a fair amount, especially when you consider that total savings of $120 off the regular $899
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In yet another sign of how fortunes have changed in the semiconductor industry, Taiwanese foundry giant TSMC is expected to surpass Intel in quarterly revenue for the first time. Wall Street analysts estimate TSMC will grow second-quarter revenue 43 percent quarter-over-quarter to $18.1 billion. Intel, on the other hand, is expected to see sales decline 2 percent sequentially to $17.98 billion in the same period, according to estimates collected by Yahoo Finance. The potential for TSMC to surpass Intel in quarterly revenue is indicative of how demand has grown for contract chip manufacturing, fueled by companies like Qualcomm, Nvidia, AMD, and Apple who design their own chips and outsource manufacturing to foundries like TSMC. This trend has created a quandary for Intel. The semico
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Analysis A blog post calling for a boycott of the well-known 7-Zip compression app is attracting some discussion on Reddit. However, it seems criticism for Igor Pavlov and his FOSS compression app 7-Zip is somewhat overblown and may reflect the anti-Russian sentiment of the times. 7-Zip has been around since 1999 and in that two-decade span there have been more widely used Windows compression tools (WinZip and WinRAR, in particular) they are shareware, so try-before-you-buy versus free. There's absolutely nothing wrong with the shareware model. It has been around longer than the modern FOSS ecosystem, and there are some excellent shareware tools. However, a lot of people aren't really trying before a potential purchase: they never intend to pay. And if that's the case, then you mig
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After sunsetting Google Hangouts for Workspace users in February, Google’s now beginning the process of migrating free, personal Hangouts users to Chat. In an announcement posted to its blog, Google says people who still use the Hangouts mobile app will see a prompt to move to Chat. As for users who use Hangouts in Gmail on the web, Google says it won’t start prompting users to make the switch to Chat until July. Hangouts will remain usable on its desktop site until November, and Google says it will warn users “at least one month” in advance before it starts pointing the Hangouts site to Chat. Image: Google Confusingly, Google Chat isn’t the same thing as GChat (or
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What's said to be a Ukrainian-made long-range anti-drone rifle is one of the latest weapons to emerge from Russia's ongoing invasion of its neighbor. The Antidron KVS G-6 is manufactured by Kvertus Technology, in the western Ukraine region of Ivano-Frankivsk, whose capital of the same name has twice been subjected to Russian bombings during the war. Like other drone-dropping equipment, we're told it uses radio signals to interrupt control, remotely disabling them, and it reportedly has an impressive 3.5 km (2.17 miles) range. "We are not damaging the drone. With communication lost, it just loses coordination and doesn't know where to go. The drone lands where it is jammed, or can be carried away by the wind because it's uncontrollable,"  Kvertus' director of technology Yaroslav Filimonov
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apple giveth and apple taketh away — Higher-capacity versions of the new MacBook Pro don't seem to be affected. Enlarge / This is the 2022 13-inch MacBook Pro.Samuel Axon The use of the M2 chip is the new 13-inch MacBook Pro's biggest change compared to the M1 version Apple launched in 2020, but it's apparently not the only one. YouTubers on the Max Tech and Created Tech channels (via MacRumors) have run speed tests on the 256GB version of the M2 MacBook Pro and discovered that the SSD's read and write speeds are as much as 50 percent slower than the 256GB SSD in the M1 MacBook Pro. The culprit appears to be the NAND flash configuration.
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Getty Images When you read a sentence like this one, your past experience tells you that it’s written by a thinking, feeling human. And, in this case, there is indeed a human typing these words: [Hi, there!] But these days, some sentences that appear remarkably humanlike are actually generated by artificial intelligence systems trained on massive amounts of human text. People are so accustomed to assuming that fluent language comes from a thinking, feeling human that evidence to the contrary can be difficult to wrap your head around. How are people likely to navigate this relatively uncharted territory? Because of a persistent tendency to associate fluent expression with fluent thought, it is natural—but potentially misleading
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The Supreme Court has turned down a request to revisit a decades-old libel ruling, despite a dissent from Justice Clarence Thomas. This morning, the court denied a petition to hear Coral Ridge Ministries Media v. Southern Poverty Law Center, in which an evangelical Christian ministry accused the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) of falsely designating it as an anti-LGBTQ hate group. If it had overturned the ruling, the Supreme Court would have greatly increased the odds of public figures winning libel cases in the future. Instead, the decision delays (but likely won’t end) a long-running push to expand the scope of defamation law. Coral Ridge Ministries Media v. SPLC hinges on the “actual malice” standard — a protection that means public figures must show a false statement was
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Toyota and Subaru are recalling several thousand electric vehicles that might spontaneously shed tires due to self-loosening hub bolts.  Toyota issued the recall last week for 2023 bZ4X all-electric SUVs, 2,700 of which are affected, the automaker said. Subaru is recalling all-electric Solterras, which were developed jointly with Toyota and have the same issue, Reuters reported. Japan's auto safety regulating body said "sharp turns and sudden braking could cause a hub bolt to loosen," Reuters said, though it's unknown if any actual accidents have been caused by the defect. In its recall notice, Toyota said "all of the hub bolts" can loosen "after low-mileage use," but said it was still investigating the cause of, and driving conditions that can lead to, the issue.  Of the approxi
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Both the Roku Streambar and Streambar Pro soundbars are matching their lowest prices ever. The 14-inch Roku Streambar (perfect for smaller entertainment setups) usually sells for $129.99 but is on sale right now at Amazon and Best Buy for $99.99. The larger 32-inch Streambar Pro with more powerful sound is down to $149.99 from its usual $179.99 at both Amazon and Best Buy. While these soundbars have some differences, each comes with the Roku OS baked in and 4K HDR playback, meaning they function as competent streaming devices, not just soundbars, and are an excellent way to consolidate devices in your living room. They certainly aren’t the largest or most powerful soundbars on the market, but considering that a Roku Streaming Stick typically goes for $49.99, you’ll have a tough tim
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A second shot? — Better platform integration would make a HomePod comeback more impactful. Enlarge / Apple's discontinued HomePod smart speaker.Jeff Dunn After officially killing off the HomePod last year, Apple will soon release a new version of the smart speaker, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reported in a Sunday newsletter. The report detailed expectations without citing sources and said the speaker "is unlikely to arrive until" 2023. Gurman said the new HomePod is currently in development under the code name B620. It will reportedly use a new S8 processor that will also be used in the next Apple Watch. The New S8 "will have the same s
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Twitch’s concurrent viewership record has been broken again. Spanish streamer Ibai Llanos Garatea (who goes by “Ibai” on the platform) hit a peak of more than 3.3 million concurrent viewers during a boxing event he hosted over the weekend, according to Twitch (via Eurogamer), crushing the previous record of nearly 2.5 million held by Spanish streamer TheGrefg. Ibai’s event, La Velada del Año II, featured other content creators competing in the ring as well as some musical performances. Content creator-led boxing events aren’t exactly a new idea, but the success of Ibai’s show, which took place in an arena in front of a packed crowd, demonstrates that they still can be big draws for live and virtual viewers. You can check out the full replay on Ibai’s Twitch channel. Ibai
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Say this for Starbucks: its coffee may mostly just taste like burning, but its merch tends to be on point. The latest example, as spotted by 9to5Google, is a collaboration with Samsung (in South Korea only, unfortunately) that created branded cases for the Galaxy S22 lineup and the Galaxy Buds 2. One of the Buds 2 case options is a dark green case with a Starbucks logo. (Boring.) The other is a small white mug with a handle and fake latte art whose top swivels away to reveal your earbuds. (Less boring!) Thanks to the giant mermaid logo on the side, it won’t appeal to anyone other than the most diehard of Starbucks javaheads, and I suppose I should point out that I’ve never had a Starbucks barista draw a perfect foam leaf on top of my drink, but I love it nonetheless. Samsung’s Starbucks collab brought a bunch of new cases... some more interesting than others. Image: Samsung Samsung has a history with fun cases like these, too. You might remember, for instance, its poké ball case for the Buds, which it released — also exclusively in South Korea — last month. Like that one, the mug is just hilariously impractical: it takes a small, stealthy, pocketable case and turns it into something loud and unwieldy. To give you an idea of the size of the thing, you actually put your entire charger inside the mug. There are no new features and no added battery capacity in that big body — just more gizmo for your gizmo. But why shouldn’t chargers be more fun just for fun’s sake? The mug is just a cute desk accessory, a place to put your whole
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A fleet of space helicopters — In general, the House budget writers appear to largely support NASA's activities. Enlarge / NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter is seen here in a closeup taken by Mastcam-Z, a pair of zoomable cameras aboard the Perseverance rover.NASA/JPL-Caltech This week, the US House of Representatives will release a detailed blueprint of its budget for Commerce, Justice, Science, and related agencies, including information about NASA's budget. The House proposes to provide 25.446 billion for NASA for fiscal year 2023, which is $1.4 billion more than what NASA received this year but $527 million less than what the agency asked for. In advance of its release, Ars obtained a copy of the 208-page budget blueprint, which represents the opening salvo in the process of funding the federal government. The Senate must still release its budget blueprint later this summer, and then the House and Senate must reconcile their budgets. This may not happen until the fall or winter, after the start of the new fiscal year on October 1, 2022. (Update: The document has now been released). However, the preliminary document nonetheless provides some sense of lawmaker priorities. And in general, the House budget writers appear to largely support NASA's activities, including the Artemis Program to land humans on the Moon this decade. Artemis The House would provide $7.32 billion for "Deep Space Exploration Systems," including full funding of the amounts requested by NASA for the Orion spacecraft, the Space Launch System rocket
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Analysis Lenovo fancies its TruScale anything-as-a-service (XaaS) platform as a more flexible competitor to HPE GreenLake or Dell Apex. Unlike its rivals, Lenovo doesn't believe it needs to mimic all aspects of the cloud to be successful. While subscription services are nothing new for Lenovo, the company only recently consolidated its offerings into a unified XaaS service called TruScale. On the surface TruScale ticks most of the XaaS boxes — cloud-like consumption model, subscription pricing — and it works just like you'd expect. Sign up for a certain amount of compute capacity and a short time later a rack full of pre-plumbed compute, storage, and network boxes are delivered to your place of choosing, whether that's a private datacenter, colo, or edge location. Technically, TruScale isn't limited to datacenter products and encompasses Lenovo's entire portfolio including PCs, laptops, and smartphones. It's the same basic idea that HPE has been peddling with its GreenLake platform for the better part of three years. But where Lenovo's TruScale differs from GreenLake is what happens after you plug it all in. Why develop your own software when you can use someone else's? Unlike HPE, Lenovo hasn't invested the same effort into building a custom software ecosystem to accompany its hardware. Lenovo's strategy has involved "taking the best in the marketplace with our partners like Deloitte, Microsoft, VMware, Nutanix, and others and working together, along with our channel partners, to provide a solution that meets the client's needs," Dale Aultman, VP and GM for Lenovo's infrastructure solutions group services, told The Register. "Clients want choice… and they do not want to be locked up by a single choice." The approach is one of the biggest differentiators between the OEM giants' XaaS strategies, according to Futurum Principal Analyst Daniel Newman, who called Greenlake's control plane a winning strategy. "Look at the lock-in that cloud companies have when they build relationships with their developers on a control plane level. AWS, Azure, they've built a control plane that's ease to consume, easy to move workload
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Rug collector, dealer, and owner of WarRug.com, Kevin Sudeith in his New York City home. War rugs are a traditional Afghan art — how’d a guy in Brooklyn end up with their copyright? By Jun 27, 2022, 10:00am EDT Photography by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge Aaron Davies remembers being blown away by the colors. Instead of the muted tones and abstract motifs of traditional Persian carpets, the rug in front of him depicted a map of Afghanistan surrounded by guns and tanks, woven with fluorescent pink, green, and blue threads. Known as a “war rug,” the textile made by Afghan weavers had traveled all the way from Peshawar, Pakistan, to his home in the United Kingdom in a battered cardboard box. “I just thought they were amazingly interesting,” says Davies, “It’s just such a bizarre concept to put on a rug.” Peshawar, near Pakistan’s border w
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Sadly for NASA's mission to take samples from the asteroid Psyche, software problems mean the spacecraft is going to miss its 2022 launch window. The US space agency made the announcement on Friday: "Due to the late delivery of the spacecraft's flight software and testing equipment, NASA does not have sufficient time to complete the testing needed ahead of its remaining launch period this year, which ends on October 11." While it appears the software and testbeds are now working, there just isn't enough time to get everything done before a SpaceX Falcon Heavy sends the spacecraft to study a metallic-rich asteroid of the same name. The plan had been to launch in 2022 and spend three-and-a-half years under solar electric cruise before arriving at the asteroid in 2026 for 21 months in orbit. Scientists are keen to take a closer look since Psyche appears to be the exposed nickel-iron core of an early planet. Maxar Technologies built the solar-electric propulsion chassis, and the payload includes an imager, magnetometer, and gamma-ray imager. NASA had already pushed the launch back from August 1 to no earlier than September 20 after compatibility issues cropped up with the software testbed simulators. Last week's announcement is tantamount to a throwing in of the towel regarding Psyche's original mission. While launches are possible in 2023 and 2024, the orbital positions of the Earth and the asteroid means Psyche would not arrive at its destination until 2029 or 2030 respectively. Whatever hit the Moon in March, it left this weird double crater NASA circles August in its diary to put Artemis I capsule in Moon orbit NASA wants nuclear reactor on the Moon by 2030 NASA ignores InSight's battery woes in pursuit of data And then there are two ride-along projects, scheduled for launch alongside Psyche on the Falcon Heavy. The Janus mission planned to send two probes to visit a pair of asteroids; the first launch delay meant new targets were required. A lengthier delay will require another rethink. A Deep Space Optical Communications demonstration involving high-data-rate laser communications is also to be carried along for th
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After Tesla CEO Elon Musk commanded remote employees to return to work or else lose their jobs, the company was reportedly ill-prepared to welcome back its workers. According to a report from The Information, employees arrived at Tesla’s Fremont, California facility only to find a lack of parking spots, no desk to sit at, and crappy Wi-Fi (where’s Starlink when you need it?). Musk clearly didn’t think this one through. Tesla’s headcount has doubled since 2019, The Information notes, now sitting at 99,210 people. Earlier this month, Musk cited excess hiring and a “super bad feeling” about the economy as reasons for a hiring freeze and company-wide layoffs that reportedly includes both salaried and hourly workers. Salaried workers make up about one-third of employees at the company, although it’s unclear how many of them work at the office or at Tesla’s factories. During the pandemic, most of the employees who used to report to Tesla’s Fremont campus, which consists of office buildings and a factory, stayed home — at least up until Musk called everyone back to work. Current employees at Tesla told The Information that those who drove to work at the Fremont factory struggled to find a place to park. Some reportedly opted to park their cars at the nearby BART station instead and then get shuttled to work by Tesla. Inside the office, The Information reports some workers didn’t even have a place to sit. The company reportedly decided to repurpose certain areas of the office during the pandemic and also didn’t account for a larger team. According to The Information, the desk situation was so bad that managers told some employees to work from home anyway. Even if employees could sit down, the Wi-Fi signal was too weak for them to work. Musk’s plan to get employees back to work was partially foiled — by himself. But Musk is a busy guy. He’s got SpaceX to run, too, and things seem to be going well (if that means potentially illegally firing employees who criticize your behavior). Musk’s also in the middle of buying Twitter or at least bickering with the company about how many of its users are bots. He’s already made his feelings know
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Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise is the latest networking outfit to add Wi-Fi 6E capability to its hardware, opening up access to the less congested 6GHz spectrum for business users. The France-based company just revealed the OmniAccess Stellar 14xx series of wireless access points, which are set for availability from this September. Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise said its first Wi-Fi 6E device will be a high-end "premium" Access Point and will be followed by a mid-range product by the end of the year. Wi-Fi 6E is compatible with the Wi-Fi 6 standard, but adds the ability to use channels in the 6GHz port
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Analysis Supermicro launched a wave of edge appliances using Intel's newly refreshed Xeon-D processors last week. The launch itself was nothing to write home about, but a thought occurred: with all the hype surrounding the outer reaches of computing that we call the edge, you'd think there would be more competition from chipmakers in this arena. So where are all the AMD and Arm-based edge appliances? A glance through the catalogs of the major OEMs – Dell, HPE, Lenovo, Inspur, Supermicro – returned plenty of results for AMD servers, but few, if any, validated for edge deployments. In fact,
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After going free-to-play less than a week ago, Fall Guys is getting its first major update to fix several technical and visual issues across all platforms. Developer Mediatonic issued the update early this morning, which corrects some glaring issues — including that players using the PlayStation 5 version were not able to send or receive party invites from friends on other platforms like Xbox, PC, or Nintendo Switch. (Previously, they were told to mitigate the issue by redownloading the PS4 version of Fall Guys.) In addition to overcoming that hurdle — a significant one for a game that’s best played with some bean buddies — the Nintendo Switch version’s update fixes buggy character animations. Now, other characters no longer look like stop-motion animations or bad GIFs eerily floating across the level. Mediatonic has detailed all the included fixes in a thread on its official Twitter page. we made some changes today, here are a bunch of them Starting with... PS5 Players will now be able to get into games whilst in a Party! wooooooooo! pic.twitter.com/f88vjz0H1p— Fall Guys... FREE FOR ALL! (@FallGuysGame) June 27, 2022 Fall Guys’ change to a free-to-play model is certainly breathing new life into the game. It became the family-friendly darling of the pandemic when it was temporarily free on PlayStation Plus, though over time its popularity and player count dwindled. Now, after being acquired by Epic Games and shifting to a free-to-play model, the game has reached a player count of 20 million in its first two days of the relaunch. Longtime players — of which I am one — may feel like bugs and glitches are nothing new, though Mediatonic is playing catch-up in its first week on critical ones. As someone who has often kept up with friends through the pandemic while in bean form, I’m most relieved to see the visual fixes on the Switch. When I first booted up the handheld version over the weekend, it was jarring to see other characters barely animated. I know Fall Guys occasionally leans into the cringey vibes and meta silliness, but the joke gets old fast when it feels like you’re playing a broken game. A free-to-play game has to act quickly to fix such issues or the audience may quickly turn to more reliable alternatives and forget it. Now, if only all the leftover crowns were converted to much more useful Show-Bucks currency in
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Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge The Nexus Q had a standout design, but everything else about it was a miss By Jun 27, 2022, 9:30am EDT The Nexus Q was such a misguided product that Google decided to pull the plug before the device was ever released to consumers. Ten years to the day after its introduction at I/O 2012, the $299 media player positioned as a “social streaming device” remains a unique debacle in Google’s hardware story. Say what you will about Google Glass, but the company’s first foray into wearable tech at least got people talking. The Nexus Q, in contrast, was an example of what can happen when a company becomes very lost in its own walled garden. There were promising aspects to the Q; in hindsight, you can clearly see the groundwork and early DNA of Google’s Chromecast within it. But everything about the execution was fundamentally shortsighted — and a little weird. In the below promo video that Google released on the day it announced the Nexus Q, someone describes the product as “this living alien object.” “There’s something inside it. It wants to get out.” Totally normal stuff. Sixty seconds into the video, you’ve still got no clue what this thing is or what the hell it even does. Eventually, we learn that the Nexus Q is
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The ability to move off-grid just got a little bit easier with these new modular and expandable Power Kits from EcoFlow. These all-in-one Power Kits are turnkey solutions that take the guesswork and complexity out of implementing a battery-based power system inside an adventure van or cabin in the woods. As such, it should take up less room and require less wiring to free up much-needed space for things like food, water, and mountain bikes. Imagine it: take a plug-and-play power system like this and combine it with Starlink RV space internet and your company’s new flexible office policy to live and work from just about anywhere. “The EcoFlow Power Kits are designed to make creating custom power solutions easier than ever,” said EcoFlow R&D Director Thomas Chan. “EcoFlow wants to offer energy solutions that can be personalized to users’ exact needs, whether they are in a motorhome, off-grid house or retrofitting their workshops.” The relatively compact Power Hub is perhaps the biggest selling point, as it combines several functions like an AC/DC inverter, MPPT solar charger, DC-DC converter, and DC-DC charger into a single box. It also creates a central location for all inputs and outputs to keep EcoFlow’s stackable lithium iron phosphate (LFP or LiFePO4) batteries charged using solar power, your vehicle’s inverter when driving, or shore power whenever you return to civilization. LFP batteries have several advantages over lithium-ion battery packs, includin
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Several US tech companies have taken a stance or issued statements promising healthcare-related support for employees following the Supreme Court's ruling to overturn Roe v Wade last Friday. A Supreme Court draft opinion that was leaked in February provided advanced warning of the legal eventuality, giving companies plenty of time to prepare official positions and related policies for employees. Without proper policies in place, tech companies could put themselves at risk of "brain drain" as employees become tempted to relocate to states where abortion access is readily available or to companies that better support potential needs as healthcare in the US is more often tied to an employer than not. Thirteen out of 50 states have "trigger laws," meaning the highest court's action bans abortion automatically, and anyone seeking the procedure must travel to another state to receive such desired medical care. These trigger states are home to companies such as Dell, Tesla, SolarWinds, HP, Oracle, and Rackspace (all in Texas), as well as Micron in Idaho. Even without a headquarters in a trigger state, companies may still operate with a footprint in one, for example Microsoft's datacenters in Cheyenne, Wyoming, which as of last November had over 200 employees. Companies including Airbnb, headquartered in Georgia, which although not a trigger state is one of 26 states deemed certain or likely to restrict access to abortion, already had a policy of allowing remote work without negatively affecting pay no matter the location. Airbnb's policy was put in place in April. Google mostly allows its employees to change their location, rejecting only applicants whose jobs require specialized equipment or necessary in-person meetings, which it told Bloomverg accounts for approximately 15 percent of staff. "Chief people officer" Fiona Cicconi sent out a letter to staff on Friday stating that Googlers and their dependents' insurance covered out-of-state medical procedures not available where the employee lived and worked. "Googlers can also apply for relocation without justification, and those overseeing this process will be aware of the situation. If you need additional support," further read the email. Susan Wojcicki, CEO of fellow Alphabet company, video platform YouTube, said on Twitter that "reproductive rights are human rights." As a CEO I recognize there are a spectrum of opinions on the SCOTUS ruling today. As a woman, it’s a devastating setback. I personally believe every woman should have a choice about how and when to become a mother. Reproductive rights are human rights. — Susan Wojcicki (@SusanWojcicki) June 24, 2022 Abortion rights: US senators seek ban on sale of health location data FTC urged to protect data privacy of women visiting abortion clinics Big Tech loves talking up privacy – while trying to kill privacy legislation Trouble hiring? Consider loosening your remote work policy Apple, Meta, and Amazon have also agreed to cover out-of-state travel expenses to receive medical care. Of course, in the case of Amazon, the benefit does not apply to its swathes of contractors and part-time employ
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Taiwan's state-owned energy company is looking to raise prices for industrial users, a move likely to impact chipmakers such as TSMC, which may well have a knock-on effect on the semiconductor supply chain. According to Bloomberg, the Taiwan Power Company, which produces electricity for the island nation, has proposed increasing electricity costs by at least 8 percent for industrial users, the first increase in four years. The power company has itself been hit by the rising costs of fuel, including the imported coal and natural gas it uses to generate electricity. At the same time, the country is experiencing record demand for power because of increasing industrial requirements and because of high temperatures driving the use of air conditioning, as reported by the local Taipei Times. Taiwan's peak electricity consumption topped 39GW towards the end of last week, which apparently set a new record. Taiwan Power is now predicting that the peak usage figure could easily surpass 40GW this summer. While other countries are also facing rising energy costs, Taiwan holds a key position as one of the dominant players in the global chip market. Taiwanese companies account for 48 per cent of the semiconductor foundry industry and as much as 61 per cent of the world's capacity to manufacture chips using 16nm production nodes or better. According to a report from McKinsey [PDF], electricity can account for up to 30 percent of the operating costs for a chip fabrication plant, with a typical semiconductor fab using as much power in a year as about 50,000 homes. A significant rise in energy prices is therefore likely to result in higher chip prices as the costs are passed on to customers. Taiwan-based TSMC and other semiconductor foundry companies had already been planning to increase the prices they charge for manufacturing chips, as we reported previously. Chinese startup hires chip godfather and TSMC vet to break into DRAM biz Top chip foundries grow amid electronics spending slowdown. Except Samsung Semiconductor boom could be coming to an end – analysts US to help Japan make leading-edge 2nm chips, possibly by 2025 Meanwhile, analyst firm Omdia last week reported that the semiconductor market is flattening out after a period of record revenues for the chipmakers, reaching a plateau in the first quarter of 2022 following five straight quarters of record revenues and continual growth in demand. Omdia predicted that the chip industry is heading for a slowdown because of companies stockpiling components, in addition to broader global economic issues and inflation. A rise in component prices due to growing energy costs is likely to add to the market uncertainty. Earlier this month it was reported that chip manufacturers are investing heavily in new production facilities in order to overcome any chip supply issues. Semiconductor industry group SEMI said it expected that Taiwanese firms will increase spending on equipment by 52 percent to $34 billion, accounting for 31 percent of total investments expected this year. TSMC also recently revealed details of its much-anticipated 2nm production process node, which i
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Volkswagen announced a stylish new electric sedan concept, the ID Aero, which it plans on putting into production in China in 2023. The EV’s aerodynamic shape and 16-foot length will help enable up to 385 miles of range based on Europe’s WLTP. The ID Aero will be built on VW’s flexible MEB platform, which is also being used to power the automaker’s other electric models. The automaker also claims an ultra-low drag coefficient of 0.23, which puts it on par with other luxury electric German autos in its class, like the BMW i4 and Mercedes-Benz EQS. Otherwise, there’s not much to distinguish the ID Aero from its compet
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Aurich Lawson | Getty Images Home offices have gotten a lot of attention over the last couple of years. When offices all over the world shut
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Over the past few weeks, we’ve been showing you how you can run some of the benchmarks that we run in our laptop reviews to see how well your PC stacks up to others on the market. Today, we’re looking at PugetBench for After Effects, created by the PC manufacturer Puget Systems, which will measure how well your computer can handle VFX and graphics work. It’s important to note that this benchmark is still in beta. It is a bit more glitchy than some of the other Puget benchmarks (including the one for Photoshop, which we talked about earlier). If you’re running into problems, Puget Systems has a long list of troubleshooting steps to try. It’s doubly important that you don’t use
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In brief A Japanese contractor working in the city of Amagasaki, near Osaka, reportedly mislaid a USB drive containing personal data on the metropolis's 460,000 residents. Amagasaki lock in Amagasaki's Nishinomiya Ashiya port The unidentified man, who was a contractor with the city working to disburse pandemic subsidies, placed the drive containing all the records into his bag, which he took with him on a night out on the town earlier this week.  It's unknown how good of a time the man had, but he did reportedly end up passing out in the street, Japanese news source NHK reported the company who employed him as saying, elaborating on an incident report from the Amagasaki city government. The company told the newspaper that, upon waking, the contractor found his bag was missing. The incident report states that the memory stick contained names, birth dates, addresses, tax details, banking information, and social security records – all of it very private and potentially harmful if stolen. Amagasaki officials said the data on the USB stick was encrypted, and offered apologies for harming the public's trust in their administration. All the worry came to naught, though. After searching the area with police, the bag and the USB stick were found. Amagasaki officials said there's no evidence anyone attempted to access the information.  CISA fields advisor recommendations, warns that Log4j is still around The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) held its third Cybersecurity Advisory Committee meeting this week, where it made a laundry list of recommendations on its programs and policies. After six months of prognostication here's a quick rundown of the recommendations made by advisors from Mastercard, Apple, the University of Washington, and other organizations, which met in six subcommittees: CISA needs to prioritize developing a strong workforce by improving its talent acquisition process to compete with the private sector Create a new chief people officer at CISA CISA should launch a nationwide "311" program to provide an emergency call line for SMBs hit by cyber attacks CISA needs to expand its "More Than a Password" MFA campaign by reaching out to NGOs, other government agencies, and private sector partners CISA should take all necessary steps to ensure all companies working with the US Federal Government have fully adopted MFA by 2025 Streamline the incident reporting and vulnerability reporting processes Establish a central platform to handle intake of suspected vulnerabilities Improve communication between security researchers, agencies and vendors Address the risks of misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation in American society Of the recommendations, two were mentioned by more than one subcommittee: expanding the More Than a Password campaign, and establishing the SMB 311 line. CISA director Jen Easterly said that the next meeting would focus on strategies to develop a national alert system for cyber risks.  CISA also released a cybersecurity alert this week warning that Log4Shell is still around and actively being exploited. Together with the US Coast Guard Cyber C
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Cloudflare has added the ability to access private networks to its browser isolation service, and suggests the combo represents an alternative to virtual desktop infrastructure. Browser isolation requires organizations to have a Cloudflare Zero Trust account, and to install a client on users' devices. Cloudflare runs a browser in its cloud and users browse as usual – but Cloudflare intervenes so that users don't make it to whichever web server they intend to visit. Cloudflare browses to the server and then redraws the web page on the client browser. The user's device therefore never touches
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Last year, Fortnite developer Epic Games launched a big partnership with high fashion house Balenciaga. In addition to a collection of skins decked out in Balenciaga gear available to purchase, Epic also promoted a Balenciaga-themed zone players could visit. It looked like a virtual city square dropped into Fortnite, but at the heart was a recreation of a Balenciaga retail store. It’s an impressive world, and feels almost like something plucked from the Fortnite battle royale island. But it was actually made by just three creators who are full-time Fortnite Creative experts that have for
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Oracle and systems integrator Evosys have won contracts to implement a new Oracle Fusion ERP system for the London Borough of Waltham Forest as part of a project which expects £12 million capex over three years. The consultancy firm has been awarded a contract worth £2 million ($2.45 million) as the implementation partner on the project, in a deal set to last nearly two years. It is unclear how much of the £12 million ($14.72 million) earmarked for the project in financial years 2021-22, 2022-23, and 2023-24 would contribute to Oracle licenses. In its Outline Business Case [PDF] for the project, the council said Big Red's cloud-based system will replace an ageing SAP product first implemented in 2003. "The Council's current version of SAP has performance issues and poor usability increases manual work for employees," the document said. "In addition to the above, it is difficult and expensive to make changes to the SAP system to make it more user-friendly. The system's poor usability and lack of flexibility has led to the proliferation of off-system processing and multiple spreadsheets in the various back-office functional areas." The council also found that is current version of SAP, implemented in 2013, is "drawing towards end of life." "It has become clear to the Council that significant improvements to the current SAP platform are not achievable or worthwhile and a new ERP system is, therefore, required," the documents said. The council selected Oracle Fusion following "an extensive market scanning exercise" looking into both all-in-one and best-of-breed approaches. Eight providers showcased their systems and Oracle was selected based on feedback from service leads. It will be expected to support finance, procurement, and HR processes in cloud to improve insights, increase efficiency, and enhance employee experience. The council used a framework agreement for collective procurement – the HealthTrust Europe Information Communication Technology Solutions framework – to buy the Oracle Fusion solution itself. The local authority, one of 33 London borough councils, serves around 250,000 constituents. In a press release, Councillor Paul Douglas, cabinet member for public service, said: "Our main challenge was supporting a heavily customised and fragmented solution that had led to manual tasks, unresponsive online forms, and repetition for our employees. "By connecting our critical departments through a single unified platform, we can streamline and set up easy-to-follow processes across the business and enable access to more accurate and up-to-date data. We want to invest in a solution that will evolve and adapt with our business and after recommendations from our peers, we know Oracle Fusion Applications is the best fit for us." Oracle shrinks on-prem cloud offering in both size and cost Rows, columns, and the search for a database that can do everything TikTok US traffic defaults to Oracle Cloud, Beijing can (allegedly) still have a look Software dev-turned-councillor launches rubbish* chatbot Waltham Forest follows in the footsteps of a number of UK authorities looking forward t
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Opinion Edge is terribly trendy. Move cloudy workloads as close to the user as possible, the thinking goes, and latency goes down, as do core network and data center pressures. It's true  – until the routing sleight-of-hand breaks that diverts user requests from the site they think they're getting to the copies in the edge server.  If that happens, everything goes dark – as it did last week at Cloudflare, edge lords of large chunks of web content. It deployed a Border Gateway Protocol policy update, which promptly took against a new fancy-pants matrix routing system designed to improve reliability. Yeah. They know.  It took some time to fix, too, because in the words of those in the know, engineers "walked over each other's changes" as fresh frantic patches overwrote slightly staler frantic patches, taking out the good they'd done. You'd have thought Cloudflare of all people would be able to handle concepts of dirty data and cache consistency, but hey. They know that too.  What's the lesson? It's not news that people make mistakes, and the more baroque things become, the harder they are to guard against. It's just that what gets advertised on BGP isn't just routes but things crapping out, and when you're Cloudflare that's what the C in CDN becomes. It's not the first time it's happened, nor the last, and one trusts the company will hire a choreographer to prevent further op-on-op stompfests.  Yet if it happens, and keeps happening, why aren't systems more resilient to this sort of problem? You can argue that highly dynamic and structurally fluid routing mechanisms can't be algorithmically or procedurally safeguarded, and we're always going to live in the zone where the benefits of pushing just a bit too hard for performance is worth the occasional chaotic hour. That's defeatist talk, soldier.  There's another way to protect against the unexpected misfire, other  than predicting or excluding. You'll be using it already in different guises, some of which have been around since the dawn of computer time: state snapshotting. No matter what a computing device is doing, it's going from one state to another and those states absolutely define its functioning. Take a snapshot and you're freezing that state in time; return to that state and it's as if nothing that happened after that point never happened. The bad future has been erased. God-like power.  It seems so mundane. The concept is behind ctrl-Z, beckups, journaling file systems, auto-save, speculative execution, and much more besides. We almost never think of all these as the same idea, because they're all individual bodges we keep reinventing. Can the concept be generalized, so we can engineer it into our systems as a fundamental property? If we did, what would that look like?  AI's most convincing conversations are not what they seem TSMC and China: Mutually assured destruction now measured in nanometers, not megatons Only Microsoft can give open-source the gift of NTFS. Only Microsoft needs to Safari is crippling the mobile market, and we never even noticed When Apple named its backup system Time Machine, it came the closest of any
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Who, Me? Monday is here, and with it a warning that steadfast determination to ignore instructions might not be such a silly thing after all. Welcome to Who, Me? Today's story comes from a reader Regomized as "Sam" and takes us back to his first proper IT job following his departure from the education system. Sam found himself on the mainframe operations team for a telecommunications company. The work was, initially, pretty manual stuff. The telco wasn't silly, and had its new recruits start by performing offline duties, such as gathering tapes and job tickets for batch runs, handling payslips, "basically anything involving a bit of leg work," he told us. Everything was detailed in procedures, and it was drilled into the recruits that anything, anything they were asked to do would be covered somewhere in those procedures. On the face of it, a sensible move. However, there are risks inherent in having employees who are trained to only slavishly follow procedure, as our hero would soon discover. Six months passed, "so they could ensure I wasn't a complete idiot," said Sam, "before being unleashed on the actual machines stationed in the big, noisy room down the corridor!" The time had come, and he was moved into an online role with hands on the actual terminals of actual IBM and AMDAHL mainframes. "Essentially," he said, "I was shadowing colleagues... Learning the role that would support me for the rest of my life." "Well, that's what I thought at the time," he added. "Turned out it lasted just under two years before we were shut down and all processing was transferred to other sites within the company..." That was in the future. Now, however, was Sam's crack at the big time. "Nervously," he said, "I was sat at the IBM's operations console when Jean from the SSG [Systems Support Group] asked me to perform a 'reload'." The SSG lived upstairs with windows overlooking the city. Sam's operations team lurked in the windowless downstairs. On Friday, a person from this group would head down to operations with instructions to perform a reload to ensure the systems would be fresh for the weekend and the week ahead. "It had been drilled into my head that everything and anything I might be asked would be found in one of the hefty volumes located on the library shelves behind the wonderfully expressive Memorex tape decks," said Sam. Know the difference between a bin and /bin unless you want a new doorstop Whatever you do, don't show initiative if you value your job Brute force and whiskey: The solution to all life's problems Keeping your head as an entire database goes pear-shaped So off he went, pulled the procedure, and flipped through to the bit about "Reload." Settling back into his chair, Sam began to follow the instructions, starting with the first: "Reset CPU." Pandemonium ensued. "What no one had bothered to make clear," said Sam, with the benefit of hindsight, "was when someone asked you to perform a 'reload' of the MVS/XA mainframes (IBM/AMDAHL) they actually meant for you to perform a 'shutdown' first, then when completed successfully a 'reload'." Computers do not take kindly to sudden res
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Despite being a more affordable counterpart to last year’s flagship, it’s starting to look like the upcoming Pixel 6A might offer a key improvement over the Pixel 6 series: a faster fingerprint sensor. That’s according to Fazli Halim, a Malaysian YouTuber who appears to have gotten his hands on Google’s upcoming device a month ahead of its official launch on July 28th. We spotted the video via 9to5Google. It’s potentially good news after the Pixel 6 series’ fingerprint sensors ended up being a surprising weak point for the devices, and were noticeably slower to authenticate than other phones. “The fingerprint scanner is the only biometric authentication available, and it’
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Customer service as-a-service vendor Zendesk has announced it will allow itself to be acquired for $10.2 billion by a group of investors led by private equity firm Hellman & Friedman, investment comp
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Apple’s new 13-inch MacBook Pro M2 base model appears to have slower SSD speeds than its M1 predecessor. MacRumors reports that YouTubers Max Tech and Created Tech have both tested the 256GB base M2 model and discovered the SSD’s read speeds are around 50 precent slower than the M1 MacBook Pro with 256GB of storage. Write speeds are reportedly around 30 percent slower. Testing was completed using Blackmagic’s Disk Speed Test app, and Max Tech even disassembled the 13-inch M2 MacBook Pro and found that Apple is only using a single NAND flash storage chip. The M1 MacBook Pro uses two 128GB NAND chips, and multiple chips can enable faster SSD speeds in parallel. Other 13-inch M2 MacBo
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Back in November 2009, I was getting ready to attend the Montreal International Games Summit, and I panicked — it was my first major event as a member of the press, and I had no way to record an
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The government of Indonesia has once again raised the idea of creating a "digital nomad visa" that would allow foreign workers to live and work in the tropical paradise of Bali, tax free, for five years. The idea was raised before the COVID-19 pandemic, but understandably shelved as borders closed and the prospect of any digital nomads showing up dropped to zero. But in recent interviews Sandiaga Uno, Indonesia's minister for Tourism and the Creative Economy, said the visa was back on the drawing board. Uno's plan is for a visa that allows a five-year stay, provided those who take it up work for an entity outside Indonesia. Visa holders would pay tax in whichever jurisdiction they get paid, rather than in Indonesia. What's in it for the archipelagic nation? The cash digital nomads spend on their day-to-day expenses, that's what. Bali's tourism industry is a massive contributor to Indonesia's economy and took a big hit during the pandemic. Luring cashed-up long-term residents to the island would provide years of income to local workers. Xiaomi adds earthquake alert system to some smartphones Indonesia's new mega-telco to build 18,000km submarine cable to the US Indonesia bars financial institutions from offering crypto services Should you take advantage of more relaxed attitudes to remote work and apply for this visa? Bali is certainly lovely, has an enviable climate (outside the wet season), brilliant surfing, excellent food, and a cost of living that's modest compared to Western nations. On the downside, the island's time zone is not the most convenient for daytime collaboration with colleagues in Europe or North America. If healthcare of a standard to compare with the aforementioned locales is important, you'll need to go private. Internet speeds are often modest. Roads are challenging. And who can forget the active volcanoes, which between 2017 and 2019 erupted a handful of times and disrupted air traffic for a few days? Or the frequent earthquakes? One more hazard: Australian tourists. When your correspondent last visited Bali, locals refused to believe I was Australian on grounds I was sober, civil, and wearing
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If you buy something from a Verge link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement. The Samsung M8 Smart Monitor is one of those products that dazzle you with its abundance of features to overshadow the fact that most of them are gimmicks. But gimmicks aside, it’s a stylish 32-inch 4K monitor-slash-smart-TV for people who don’t have the space, money, or desire for two large, expensive displays. Plenty of people already use their monitors as TVs, and if you’re buying one big 4K HDR screen anyway, why not have it pull double duty? The $699.99 M8 has a USB-C port with DisplayPort and 65W charging, so you can connect a laptop with a single cable and use that enormous screen to get work done. You can stream TV shows and movies from Apple TV Plus, HBO Max, Amazon Prime, Netflix, and many others on the built-in Tizen Smart TV interface. It has a rechargeable remote. It has Bluetooth and AirPlay (though no Google Cast). It has speakers and a microphone, a webcam, and even a SmartThings hub. You can make a Google Duo video call, edit Microsoft Office docs without a computer, or use your Samsung phone as a computer with DeX. Soon, you’ll even be able to play Xbox games on it without an Xbox. The M8 isn’t great at everything it tries to do, and it only makes sen
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Hitachi has taken a modest step towards becoming a public cloud provider, with the launch of a VMware-powered cloud in Japan that The Register understands may not be its only such venture. The Japanese giant has styled the service a "sovereign cloud" – a term that VMware introduced to distinguish some of its 4,000-plus partners that operate small clouds and can attest to their operations being subject to privacy laws and governance structures within the nation in which they operate. Public cloud heavyweights AWS, Azure, Google, Oracle, IBM, and Alibaba also offer VMware-powered clouds, at hyperscale. But some organizations worry that their US or Chinese roots make them vulnerable to laws that might allow Washington or Beijing to exercise extraterritorial oversight. Virtzilla therefore suggests sovereign clouds running its wares as a fine way for its customers to extend into hybrid clouds, or a pure-play cloud. Buyers of such clouds know that sovereign cloud providers can't match hyperscalers for elasticity but, as they require surety that using any cloud won't expose them to exotic legal entanglements, are happy to get as much of the cloud experience as possible. Japan's earthquake disrupts already fragile tech sector Hitachi slurps GlobalLogic for $9.6bn to bolster IoT prospects VMware walks back ban on booting vSphere from SD cards or thumb drives Hitachi clearly likes the idea too, and last Thursday announced [PDF in Japanese] that it had created a VMware-powered sovereign cloud. The Japanese giant already offers a VMware-powered managed cloud that can span on-prem and public cloud, as well as storage-as-a-service. Signing up as a VMware-powered sovereign cloud is a little extra step towards becoming a cloud provider in its own right – albeit one that operates at a far smaller scale than the big operators. Hitachi's Japanese-language description of the service suggests it offers a portal that customers use for self-service chores such as increasing the number of hosts or CPUs they employ, but that the service offers a menu of options rather than a cloudy free-for-all. The Register understands the Japanese offering may be the first
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China's internet regulator has launched an investigation into the security regime protecting academic journal database China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), citing national security concerns. In its announcement of the investigation, the China Cyberspace Administration (CAC) said: CNKI is a privately-owned publishing company that maintains a monopoly on academic journal searches in China. In recent years, it has been criticized for imposing exorbitant price increases. The price hikes were significant enough – allegedly 132 percent between 2010 and 2016 – that some organizations, including the state-linked Chinese Academy of Sciences, ended their CNKI subscriptions. China's antitrust watchdog, the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) launched an antitrust probe into the outfit last May. According to state-sponsored media Global Times, CNKI has over 1600 institutional customers and includes 90 percent of published journals in mainland China. Forty percent of the material on the site is exclusive to CNKI. it will fully comply with the investigation. According to the Global Times, FBI says more cyber attacks come from China than everywhere else combined Beijing-backed attackers use ransomware as a decoy while they conduct espionage Xi Jinping himself weighs in on how Big Tech should deploy FinTech We're now truly in the era of ransomware as pure extortion without the encryption Beijing has not explained why the security review is necessary, but it is not hard to imagine that CKMI hosts papers that discuss national security matters, or data that China's government would like to control. Academic papers as an intelligence side-channel is an obvious risk worth addressing. China's move to secure its critical info comes as the nation is credibly accused of exploiting lax security to find other nations' info through means fair and foul. In one recent case, China was accused of having a role in a US-based professor turning US-funded research into Chinese patents. Other reports suggest that China-backed attackers steal university research – such as a 2019 effort targeting maritime technology across at least 27 academic
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In brief US hardware startup Cerebras claims to have trained the largest AI model on a single device powered by the world's largest Wafer Scale Engine 2 chip the size of a plate. "Using the Cerebras Software Platform (CSoft), our customers can easily train state-of-the-art GPT language models (such as GPT-3 and GPT-J) with up to 20 billion parameters on a single CS-2 system," the company claimed this week. "Running on a single CS-2, these models take minutes to set up and users can quickly move between models with just a few keystrokes." The CS-2 packs a whopping 850,000 cores, and has 40GB of on-chip memory capable of reaching 20 PB/sec memory bandwidth. The specs on other types of AI accelerators and GPUs pale in comparison, meaning machine learning engineers have to train huge AI model
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In the same week that it welcomed the launch of a local center of excellence focused on crypto-inspired central bank digital currencies, Singapore's Monetary Authority (MAS) has warned crypto cowboys they face a rough ride in the island nation. The center of excellence (COE) was established by the Mojaloop Foundation – an open source effort to create payment platforms to make digital financial services accessible to those access to banks. The COE aims to "accelerate financial inclusion in emerging markets" through hackathons, workshops and pilot projects while examining expanded CBDCs payment capabilities." Singapore's sovereign wealth fund has invested in Mojaloop, and MAS chief fintech officer Sopnendu Mohanty serves as a board advisor and the authority provides representatives to the
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Facebook’s app for smart TVs, which lets users tune into various videos, shows, and livestreams on the platform, may no longer be available on Apple TV, as first reported by 9to5Mac. Some users say they’re no longer able to access the app after its most recent update. In a thread on MacRumors, one user shares an image of the notice they received after attempting to open Facebook Watch on their Apple TV 4K: “The Facebook Watch TV app is no longer available, but you can still find lots of videos on Facebook at www.facebook.com/watch.” Several other users report having the same experience. Facebook rolled out its Watch app on Apple TV in 2017 after first launching it on Samsung smart TVs. The app is also available on various other smart TVs and consoles, as well as on Facebook’s mobile app and desktop site. Users who still want to use the Watch app on Apple TV should be able to cast Watch from their phone to their TV, but this obviously isn’t as convenient as simply opening up an app. It’s unclear if the Facebook Watch app is no longer available due to a glitch triggered by the recent update, or if Facebook pulled the app from Apple TV entirely. Apple TV is still list
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My review of the M2 MacBook Pro went up last Wednesday. But as soon as I got my hands on the device on the prior Thursday, it was clear that running down the battery — one of the most important things a laptop reviewer needs to do — was going to be a Whole Thing. Reader, I tried. I would use the device all evening and leave it running all night, but it would still have plenty of charge left in the morning, and I’d have to plug it in for testing, abandon it to film, or give it to our video and photo teams for shooting before I could fully drain it down. I did not have a long enough interrupted span of time to continuously use the device. That’s how absurdly long this laptop lasts. But, with the written review and the video review both live, and a solid evening and subsequent morning with no plans or obligations, last Thursday gave me my first real uninterrupted free time since the review unit had arrived. I decided, when I got home and finished dinner around 7:30PM, that it was time. I was going to kill this thing. I was going to drain this stupid battery down to zero if it was the last thing I did. Quickly, some housekeeping. First, this is not the official battery life estimate with which I will ultimately be updating the review. That will be based on multiple trials, and hopefully many that are not as... weird as what I did here. (That said, our battery life test is always a ballpark estimate, and I’ve never pretended it’s anything else. Never treat one review as your only data point, etc. etc.) The MacBook Pro M2, just sitting there, taunting me that I won’t be
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Riot Games, the developer behind the free first-person shooter (FPS) Valorant, will start monitoring players’ voice communications on July 13th (via PCGamer). The game company says it’s to help train the language models that it will eventually use when evaluating player reports across all its games. Riot initially announced this change in April 2021 after making an update to its privacy policy. The new terms give Riot permission to “record and potentially evaluate voice data when using Riot-owned voice comms channels” with the purpose of combatting hate speech and harassment over voice chat. Riot says it will analyze recordings when a player reports someone for abusive or offensive comments. In turn, this should help the company determine whether the reported player violated its policies and take action accordingly. Riot isn’t going to start assessing player reports based on these recordings just yet — it’s using the information it collects to help build the beta of the system it expects to roll out later this year. For now, Riot will only evaluate the conversations of English-speaking Valorant players in North America. The only way to opt out of this system is to disable voice chat completely or use another communication tool, like Discord. “We know that before we can even think of expanding this tool, we’ll have to be confident it’s effective, and if mistakes happen, we have systems in place to make sure we can correct any false positives (or negat
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Apple’s poised to release a slew of new devices between this fall and the beginning of 2023, according to a report from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. What Gurman describes as a “deluge” of products will reportedly include four iPhone 14 devices, a set of new iPads, three Apple Watches, several M2 / M3-upgraded Macs, a pair of refreshed AirPods Pro buds, a new HomePod, and a spec-boosted Apple TV model. Let’s break down these predictions. Although Apple announced two new Macs with its flagship M2 processor at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) earlier this month, Gurman expects
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Apple’s mixed reality headset has been shrouded in rumors for months now, and a new report from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman indicates that it could come with Apple’s flagship M2 processor. According to Gurman, Apple’s most recent version of the device, which is reportedly capable of delivering augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) experiences, includes a base M2 chip and 16GB of RAM. This deviates from supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo’s previous prediction that Apple’s headset will have one processor with the capabilities of an M1 chip and an additional lower-end process
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Interview While the IT industry waits to see if and when Intel will introduce software-defined silicon in Xeon CPUs, one startup us is moving ahead with plans to bring a pay-for-what-you-use pricing model to the telecom market with its "base station-on-a-chip" later this year. Silicon Valley-based EdgeQ, which is led by Qualcomm and Intel executives, announced last week that it has begun sampling an EdgeQ-based 5G small cell and OpenRAN PCIe accelerator card for base stations with telecom operators and equipment makers. Things are apparently moving smoothly enough for the startup that Adil Ki
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Spotify has a brand new original topping its podcast chart, but it would probably prefer if you didn’t know about it. Last week, Spotify launched a new pop culture show, Breaking Bread, on Spotify Live. Breaking Bread’s recordings now rank at number 11 on Spotify’s top podcast chart after holding the number two spot for most of the week, putting it just behind Joe Rogan. The show’s popularity — and the reason the company might be staying quiet about its new hit — is due to its two hosts: Jackie Oshry Weinreb and Claudia Oshry (aka Instagram’s girlwithnojob), who come with a huge built-in audience. While the sisters have delivered their massive fanbase to the app, they have a controversial history that could be problematic for Spotify at a time when the company is being ex
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A sophisticated spyware campaign is getting the help of internet service providers (ISPs) to trick users into downloading malicious apps, according to research published by Google’s Threat Analysis Group (TAG) (via TechCrunch). This corroborates earlier findings from security research group Lookout, which has linked the spyware, dubbed Hermit, to Italian spyware vendor RCS Labs. Lookout says RCS Labs is in the same line of work as NSO Group — the infamous surveillance-for-hire company behind the Pegasus spyware — and peddles commercial spyware to various government agencies. Researchers at Lookout believe Hermit has already been deployed by the government of Kazakhstan and Italian authorities. In line with these findings, Google has identified victims in both countries and says it
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Apple Music has raised the subscription price of its student plan in the US, UK, and Canada, as first reported by 9to5Mac (via TechCrunch). While it’s increasing the price from $4.99 to $5.99 / month in the US and Canada, student users in the UK can expect a similar jump from £4.99 to £5.99 / month. Apple hasn’t acknowledged the changes yet, but the new pricing information is currently available on Apple Music’s webpage. Students subscribed to Apple Music have also started seeing the price increase on their iPhones and iPads’ subscription pages. It’s unclear when exactly Apple implemented these changes, but, as 9to5Mac points out, it was likely rolled out sometime between June 21st and the 23rd — an archived Apple Music webpage shows the old £4.99 student price on the 21s
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Dealmaster — Dealmaster picks out the best of Steam's mega-sale. Plus, deals on storage and Apple Watches. Ars Technica It's the weekend, which means the time has come for another Dealmaster. Our latest roundup of the best tech deals from around the web is particularly heavy on video games, as Steam's annual Summer Sale kicked off earlier this week. The PC gaming storefront's latest mega-sale runs until July 7 and, as is often the case, includes thousands of discounts on games that span across genres and eras. There's a good chance you're already sitting on an unwieldy backlog of games you've picked up from past sales,
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Intel is postponing the groundbreaking ceremony for its planned chip-making facilities in Ohio because the US government hasn’t yet provided it with funding, the company confirmed to The Verge (via The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal). The ceremony, which was originally set to take place on July 22nd, has been delayed indefinitely in a likely bid to push the US government towards passing the CHIPS Act. Intel announced its $20 billion plan to build two semiconductor plants in New Albany, Ohio earlier this year, noting that its expansion to potentially include up to eight plants will “depend heavily on funding from the CHIPS Act.” The CHIPS Act reserves $52 billion in funding for semiconductor companies, including Intel, to promote chip manufacturing in the US. While the
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If you buy something from a Verge link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement. Even with the ability to take excellent photos with our phones and instantly share them across the world, there’s something magical about the old-school instant camera. With just a click of a button, you can capture a moment in a photo that you can see and touch almost immediately. Images captured by an instant camera aren’t as pristine or perfect as modern digital cameras, but their soft images and imperfections are often a big part of the allure. Yet not all instant cameras are the same, and some of them are better suited for different needs and budgets. That’s why we tested some of the most popular instant cameras on the market from brands like Fujifilm, Polaroid, and Kodak. All of
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Yesterday, the Supreme Court voted to uphold a Mississippi abortion ban and overturn Roe v. Wade, ending abortion access in some states and triggering impending bans in others. The decision won’t end abortion in America, but in many places it will move the procedure underground and, based on recent history, online. Understandably, abortion advocates have focused on surveillance issues in the immediate aftermath of the ruling, concerned about states using online records for criminal prosecutions. But there’s also a fight brewing over how and where advocates will be able to share abortion information online. If a procedure is illegal, then states could claim content enabling that procedure is illegal too — raising thorny questions for platforms and activists alike. Abortion bans in
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From time to time, I’ll grab a random device out of the Verge reviews closet and spend a week or two with it. It’s mostly out of random curiosity and for the sake of comparing “old” products against the latest and greatest. Most recently, I was drawn to Google’s Pixel 5. So I gave it a factory reset, updated the phone to Android 12, and have been using it as my daily driver for the past several days. The experience has been fantastic. I’ve got very large hands — an iPhone 13 Pro Max doesn’t look out of place in them — and I prefer large screens, so I don’t think I could fully switch over to the Pixel 5. But it’s such a good “small” phone (by 2022 standards) that I’ve certainly been tempted. The Pixel 5 makes it easy to do anything I need one-handed. Its midr
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Big findings — The discovery greatly expands the scope of known microbial diversity. Enlarge / The bacteria, Ca. Thiomargarita magnifica, discovered in the French Caribbean mangroves is a member of the genus Thiomargarita.Tomas Tyml Clinging to sunken debris in shallow, marine mangrove forests in the French Caribbean, tiny thread-like organisms—perfectly visible to the naked eye—have earned the title of the largest bacteria ever known. Measuring around a centimeter long, they are roughly the size and shape of a human eyelash, batting away the competition at 5,000 times the size of garden-variety bacteria and 50 times
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Starlink RV brings fast internet to overlanders and vanlifers. Stay connected while disconnecting By Jun 25, 2022, 8:00am EDT The problem with going off-grid is the lack of connection. The urge to get away from it all without losing access to Slack and Instagram was a #vanlife trend long before COVID-19. The pandemic only accelerated it, fueled by social distancing rules, office closures, and flexib
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Display tech made simple — A brief breakdown of the display tech behind TVs, monitors, and laptops. Enlarge / Magnifying the differences, similarities, pros, and cons. Aurich Lawson Somewhere along the line, consumer display technology became an alphabet soup full of terms using the letters "LED." In this succinct guide, we'll provide a brief overview of common initialisms found in the world of TV, PC monitor, and laptop displays. To keep things simple, we'll focus on how each technology impacts expected image quality. Whether you're looking for a handy refresher for the next time you're shopping or a quick, digestible g
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Feature US and European cops, prosecutors, and NGOs recently convened a two-day workshop in the Hague to discuss how to respond to the growing scourge of ransomware. "Only by working together with key law enforcement and prosecutorial partners in the EU can we effectively combat the threat that ransomware poses to our society," said US assistant attorney general Kenneth Polite, Jr, in a canned statement. Earlier this month, at the annual RSA Conference, this same topic was on cybersecurity professionals' minds – and lips. Ransomware, and other cybercrimes in which miscreants extort organizations for money, "is still the vast majority of the threat activity that we see," Cyber Threat Alliance CEO Michael Daniel said in an interview at the security event. Incr
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For bosses suffering the effects of the Great Resignation, IT decision makers taking part in this survey have a suggestion: go remote and you won't have any trouble hiring people. That's the overall message from Foundry's 2022 Future of Work study, which examined the pandemic's impact on workplaces and how businesses plan to answer the big question on everyone's minds: do we stay remote, return to the office, or try some mutant hybrid approach of the two? "[Pandemic-era changes] proved largely successful and once all the benefits of working from home became apparent, businesses began to rethink the structure of how their entire company works," said Foundry research manager Stacey Raap. Offering remote work is having a positive effect on hiring, though Foundry's report is hardly the first to acknowledge such a link. According to Foundry, 42 percent of its survey respondents said the work-from-home shift has made it easier to recruit for open positions. That number jumps to 64 percent for companies that have committed to remaining permanently remote. Some organizations that have chosen to insist on a return to the office have been roundly criticized, even having to revise plans or cancel them altogether when faced with employee revolt. "All signs point to the hybrid model as the future of work," the study concluded. Apple's return-to-office plan savaged by staff Engineer sues Amazon for not covering work-from-home internet, electricity bills Giant outsourcer keeps work from home, loses tax breaks. Government says 'good riddance' Elon Musk orders Tesla execs back to the office Seventy-two percent of respondents said there had been a positi
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Pic When space junk crashed into the Moon earlier this year, it made not one but two craters on the lunar surface, judging from images revealed by NASA on Friday. Astronomers predicted a mysterious object would hit the Moon on March 4 after tracking the debris for months. The object was large, and believed to be a spent rocket booster from the Chinese National Space Administration's Long March 3C vehicle that launched the Chang'e 5-T1 spacecraft in 2014. The details are fuzzy. Space agencies tend to monitor junk closer to home, and don't really keep an eye on what might be littering other planetary objects. It was difficult to confirm the nature of the crash; experts reckoned it would probably leave behind a crater. Now, NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has spied telltale signs of an impact at the surface. Pictures taken by the probe reveal an odd hole shaped like a peanut shell on the surface of the Moon, presumably caused by the Chinese junk. The peanut-like craters ... Image Credit: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University "Surprisingly the crater is actually two craters, an eastern crater (18-meter diameter, about 19.5 yards) superimposed on a western crater (16-meter diameter, about 17.5 yards)," said NASA. No other rocket body lunar collision has ever created two craters to our knowledge. The strange ditch suggests whatever struck the Moon had a peculiar structure. "The double crater was unexpected and may indicate that the rocket body had large masses at each end. Typically a spent rocket has mass concentrated at the motor end; the rest of the rocket stage mainly consists of an empty fuel tank. Since the origin of the rocket body remains uncertain, the doub
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The two US senators behind a proposed law to bring order to cryptocurrency finance have published their legislation to Microsoft's GitHub to obtain input from the unruly public. The bill, known as the Responsible Financial Innovation Act, was introduced by Senators Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) on June 7 to create a regulatory framework governing digital assets, cryptocurrencies, and blockchain technology. It has been welcomed by the Stellar Development Foundation and cryptocurrency trade group the Chamber of Digital Commerce, a sign that the legislation doesn't ask much of those it would regulate. And its sponsors now want the people on the internet to take a stab at refining the bill's language. "The digital asset industry was built by individuals and will continue to be sustained by individuals," said Senator Lummis, via Twitter on Wednesday. "That's why @SenGillibrand and I want input from the grassroots. If you have constructive thoughts on our legislation, make your voice heard on GitHub." By Thursday, Lummis, sometimes referred to as the senator from HODL to reflect her commitment to Bitcoin, tried to broaden the potential pool of commenters, perhaps aware that those familiar with GitHub are likely to represent a fairly narrow group of technical folk. "Point of clarification: if you do not self-identify as a pleb, don’t be deterred," she said, using another term for Bitcoin supporters. "Comments are open to all, plebs, non-plebs, no-coiners and neophytes. We want to hear from everybody who has a constructive comment to share. But pls pls, pretty please keep it civil and germane." Some thoughtful advice can be found among the 81 Issues (42 open, 39 closed) and 16 pull requests submitted at the time this story was published, but much of the wisdom of the crowd amounts to trolling, like a pull request that proposes a rewrite of the bill as a story about a bee. There are also more substantive critiques, like Issue #37 from Karan Goel, a software engineer at Google, who asked Lummis to explain conflicting statements about personally holding Bitcoin and also holding it in a blind trust – persona
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enos lives — Ubisoft, Activision Blizzard, and more respond to Supreme Court decision. Enlarge / Just some of the game franchises represented by studios coming out in support of reproductive rights today. Last month, Insomniac Games (Spider-Man) CEO Ted Price reportedly told his employees that parent company Sony "will not approve ANY statements from any studio on the topic of reproductive rights." That is apparently no longer true, as Insomniac and other Sony studios have tweeted statements in support of "reproductive freedom" in the wake of this morning's Supreme Court decision overturning the longstanding Roe v. Wade precedent on the issue. "We are human beings who make games," Insomniac tweeted this morning. "Reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy are human rights." By the afternoon, many of Sony's other North American game studios had started tweeting similar messages, including Sucker Punch (Ghost of Tsushima), Naughty Dog (The Last of Us), Santa Monica Studio (God of War), San Diego Studio (MLB: The Show), and Bend Studio (Days Gone). Some of Sony's European studios, including Media Molecule (LittleBigPlanet), Guerilla
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The last couple of weeks have had a lot of bad news for some in the “web3” space, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at announcements in and around the recently-ended NFT.NYC and ApeFest 2022 events. The Bored Ape Yacht Club’s (BAYC) annual event in particular brought in musicians like The Roots, LCD Soundsystem, Haim, Lil Baby, Lil Wayne, and others to perform for its members. On the final day of the event, guests saw the premiere of this video from two of the celebrities who’ve purchased tokens, Eminem and Snoop Dogg. The video is for a new song, From The D 2 The LBC, that isn’t the most memorable of collaborations and is mostly about smoking weed, but it constantly splices in images of the cartoon apes. Many BAYC members were disappointed in February when both men performed in the Super Bowl halftime show, and despite appearing during an event that featured crypto ads seemingly every few minutes, failed to highlight their web3 endeavors. The price of ApeCoin has dropped 39 percent in the last month to $4.51 after peaking in late April at more than $23, while Bitcoin and Ethereum’s values are also about 38 percent lower than they were 12 months ago. The Wall Street Journal wrote on May 3rd that “NFT Sales Are Flatlining,” and the numbers haven’t improved overall since then. That report cited an NFT from Snoop’s own collection, Doggy #4292, that sold for more than $33k several months ago. Its owner currently lists the item for sale at a price of nearly $11 million, and while the highest bid at the time of the article was $210, right now someone is offering $1,218. You can see the animation or download high-res still of it from its source website right here, for free. Despite that, now BAYC owners can point to music that uses characters from the club they spent so much money to join. Plus, they did get to see the real Snoop Dogg perform, not the fake one that some web3 company fooled people with this week during NFT.NYC. The rappers’ NFTs were both acquired via third parties in December, near the time prices for Bitcoin and Ethereum’s most recent peaks. In a deal executed by the digital agency Six, it cost 123.45 ETH to obtain E
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Period- and fertility-tracking apps have become weapons in Friday's post-Roe America. These seemingly innocuous trackers contain tons of data about sexual history, menstruation and pregnancy dates, all of which could now be used to prosecute women seeking abortions — or incite digital witch hunts in states that offer abortion bounties. Under a law passed last year in Texas, any citizen who successfully sues an abortion provider, a health center worker, or anyone who helps someone access an abortion after six weeks can claim at least $10,000, and other US states are following that example. "We are just a few steps away from digital dragnets for people who are providing access and possibly for people seeking abortions," EFF Director of Cybersecurity Eva Galperin told The Register. And fertility-tracking apps are just the tip of the digital surveillance iceberg.  Yes, they are "often a privacy and/or security nightmare," Galperin said. "They track a lot of various sensitive health data including data about whether a person is potentially pregnant." But, she added, there's a bigger concern. The single greatest danger right now is the location data sale industry, location data brokers, and also the privacy of your web searches "The single greatest danger right now is the location data sale industry, location data brokers, and also the privacy of your web searches," Galperin said. "One of the very first steps that people take when they are searching for abortion information is a web search." The second step often includes mapping out a health clinic, or a drug store that could be visited to pick up an abortion pill.  Who is tracking the trackers? However, more than just maps collect location data. All sorts of apps, from weather to retail, use devices' GPS technology to track users' locations and unless someone opts out, these trackers can pinpoint exactly where a user is without any manual data entry.  Location data company Placer.ai, for example, claims its software is deployed on more than 20 million devices and over 500 mobile applications. Ostensibly, this location data is to allow, say, Target to display targeted ads to
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Juul can continue selling its e-cigarettes despite the Food and Drug Administration ordering a ban Thursday, according to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (via TechCrunch). In its order, the court says it’s issuing the temporary stay to give Juul time to file an emergency motion, which it can then consider along with a response from the FDA. The FDA says the reason for the ban is that there’s “insufficient evidence to assess the potential toxicological risks of using the Juul products.” Juul had petitioned for clearance to sell its tobacco and menthol-flavored va
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In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision on Friday to overturn Roe v. Wade, Google’s chief people officer Fiona Cicconi sent a staff-wide email to employees on Friday informing them of Google’s response to the ruling. Among other things, the email states that Googlers that they can “apply for relocation without justification,” and that people in charge of the relocation process “will be aware of the situation” in assessing their requests. The Supreme Court’s ruling does not make abortion illegal throughout the US — instead, it leaves the decision up to individual states
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Blockchain venture Harmony offers bridge services for transferring crypto coins across different blockchains, but something has gone badly wrong. The Horizon Ethereum Bridge, one of the firm's ostensibly secure bridges, was compromised on Thursday, resulting in the loss of 85,867 ETH tokens optimistically worth more than $100 million, the organization said via Twitter. "Our secure bridges offer cross-chain transfers with Ethereum, Binance and three other chains," the cryptocurrency entity explained on its website. Not so, it seems. A similar attack in February on a bridge called Wormhole resulted in a loss of $320 million. That was followed a month later by the heist of about $620 million from video game Axie Infinity's Ronin Network, another bridge service. "Blockchain bridges are the latest target and weak point of crypto attackers," observed Chris Wysopal, a security researcher and CTO of Veracode, via Twitter. "In software security, vulnerabilities often occur in the complexity of two different systems interfacing with each other." Matthew Barrett, who contributes to project and appears to have taken on a communications role for Mountain View, California-based Harmony but isn't listed on the organization's team webpage, described the incident in a post to Medium. Barrett said in the wake of the attack, Harmony's security and exchange partners were notified, as was the FBI, in the hope the culprit and a way to recover the funds, still sitting unlaundered in a visible crypto wallet, can be identified. "Harmony believes that focusing on decentralized bridges is an essential step forward for Web3," said Barrett. "This incident is a humbling and unfortunate reminder of how our work is paramount to the future of this space, and how much of our work remains ahead of us." The Horizon bridge was audited by Peck Shield, a blockchain security firm, in October 21, 2020. The report identified five issues with the bridge's smart contract implementation: two high severity, two low severity, and one informational, all of which are said to have been fixed. The audit includes a disclaimer noting that the findings do not guarantee the non-existence of other security concerns. An individual involved in cryptocurrency trading raised questions in a Twitter thread about the Horizon bridge back in April and noted that the audi
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Mixed reality — Ming-Chi Kuo called it "the most complicated product Apple has ever designed." Enlarge / An early augmented reality demo by Apple, using a smartphone instead of a headset. Tech industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has offered the most specific prediction about a release date for an Apple augmented reality/virtual reality headset yet: January 2023. Kuo has often made accurate, informed predictions about Apple's plans in the past, based partly on information from sources in the company's supply chain. On Thursday, he published a lengthy analysis of the VR headset industry and predicted that Apple's device will "likely" arrive in January. Kuo called the headset "the most complicated product Apple has ever designed," noting that many current Apple suppliers are involved in the supply chain for the product. He also supported other recent leaks and speculation that the upcoming headset will not be exclusively or primarily focused on augmented reality (which places virtual options in real-world space) rather than virtual reality (which immerses the wearer in an entirely virtual space). Kuo echoed other recent reports and noted that the device would support "video see-thru," and allow for switching between modes. Thus, he predicted the headset would be a boon for the immersive game industry. The analysis was not exclusively about Apple's headsets and covered other parts of the VR/AR industry. It pointed out several weaknesses in the mixed reality business at Meta (which owns Oculus headsets, as well as Facebook and Inst
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T-Mobile’s advertising business is offering a new way for marketers to pry into your app-using habits. Ad Exchanger reports that the un-carrier’s new program is called App Insights, and it’s now fully operational after spending a year in beta. The program allows third-party marketers to buy T-Mobile customer data and centers around a key piece of information that it has unique access to: what apps you use. Customer data is anonymized, and it’s pooled together with others of similar interests and behaviors, so companies can’t buy a specific user’s app history. Still, it’s creepy. The company’s advertising segment touts this offering loud and clear on its website, with the phrase “Apps speak louder than words” splashed across the top of the page. It also invites prospective clients to “leverage app insights, the strongest indicator of consumer intent.” That’s gross. Thankfully, you can opt out. Ah, that old adage. Image: T-Mobile Advertising Solutions T-Mobile offers an Android and iOS app called “Magenta Marketing Platform Choices” that allows you to see which companies have your data and opt out entirely. You can also use App Choices if you don’t want to, you know, download a T-Mobile app to opt out of T-Mobile app tracking. According to Ad Exchanger, iOS users are excluded from the program even if they’ve opted
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NASA is finally ready to launch its unmanned Orion spacecraft and put it in the orbit of the Moon. Lift-off from Earth is now expected in late August using a Space Launch System (SLS) rocket. This launch, a mission dubbed Artemis I, will be a vital stage in the Artemis series, which has the long-term goal of ferrying humans to the lunar surface using Orion capsules and SLS technology. Earlier this week NASA held a wet dress rehearsal (WDR) for the SLS vehicle – fueling it and getting within 10 seconds of launch. The test uncovered 13 problems, including a hydrogen fuel leak in the main booster, though NASA has declared that everything's fine for a launch next month. At a press conference on Friday, NASA's Phil Weber, senior technical integration manager for the American space agency's Exploration Ground Systems Program (EGSP), said he was "on cloud nine" after testing earlier this week. We were told that "data from the rehearsal [has] determined the testing campaign is complete" during the presentation. Planned to run down to T-10 seconds, the test launch on Monday was aborted at T-29 seconds due to a hydrogen leak in a quick disconnect port. Engineers tricked the rocket's control systems into letting the countdown continue despite the leak, and NASA described the experiment as successful, as teams "performed several critical operations that must be accomplished for launch." The WDR this past Monday was also the first time NASA had fully loaded all of the craft's fuel tanks and proceeded into a terminal countdown; a WDR scheduled for April was scrapped due to "a faulty upper stage check valve and a small leak within the tail service mast umbilical ground plate housing," NASA said.  NASA wants nuclear reactor on the Moon by 2030 NASA tricks Artemis launch computer by masking data showing a leak Space Launch System dress rehearsal canceled for repairs NASA awaits approval of $24bn 2022 budget "After looking at all the data from the WDR, we realized the test went even better than expected," Weber said, despite the failure in the hydrogen disconnect port. "We caught it quickly, and never broke launch criteria," Weber said. Launch criteria for Artemis rockets require them to be kept within certain temperature and pressure limits; outside those limits the rockets won't fire.  The WDR intended to test 128 functions, only 13 of which weren't accomplished. Most of those functions were verified in previous tests. We're go for August The Space Launch System and Orion will head back to the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center next week for repairs and launch preparations, which NASA said are proceeding as planned. "NASA will set a specific target launch date after replacing hardware associated with the leak," the space agency said. At the press conference NASA said a "late August" launch was scheduled, where hopefully the SLS will fire the uncrewed Orion astronaut capsule (and several cubesats) into orbit, and then a European Space Agency booster will take the human-delivery system to lunar orbit. After orbiting and skimming within 60 miles of the lunar surface, the ESA rocket will boos
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On hold — The mission's control software hasn't been validated, and launch window is closing. Enlarge / One of two solar arrays on NASA’s Psyche spacecraft is successfully deployed in JPL’s storied High Bay 2 clean room. The twin arrays will power the spacecraft and its science instruments during a mission to the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.NASA/JPL-Caltech On Friday, NASA held a press call to announce that its planned mission to the asteroid Psyche, planned for launch this autumn, was on indefinite hold. While the spacecraft is ready and has been delivered to the Kennedy Space Center, there has been a delay in validating the software that will run the mission as it operates in remote areas of the Solar System. That delay has pushed mission readiness past the point where the launch window closes due to alignment changes in the bodies Psyche will pass on its journey to the asteroid of the same name. NASA is saying that a mission review will evaluate all options ranging from cancellation to simply delaying the mission until the next time a window opens. Problematically, Psyche's launch included a ride-along for a separate asteroid mission called Janus that has its own launch windows, so the review will need to include NASA's entire Discovery Mission program more broadly. Psyche out The asteroid Psyche is an unusual body in the Solar System. It's the former core of an object that was large enough to form a core of metallic elements; collisions have since stripped away the outer layers of this body, leaving behind something that's nearly entirely metal. Accordingly, visiting Psyche provides the opportunity to improve our understanding of the formation of everything from present-day asteroids to the bodies that merged to form the planets. And NASA planned to do exactly that through a mission that shared the name of the asteroid. The timing of the launch, however, is critical. Gravitational influences from the planets will affect how quickly Psyche can get into place, and the mission organizers wanted to ensure that the probe arrives at Psyche at a point in the asteroid's orbit where sunlight is favorable for imaging. As our recent visit to JPL showed, the hardware was ready on time. But there have been problems with validating the mission's software, which combines guidance, navigation, and hardware control. The validation process requires a platform that mimics the hardware on the probe, in some cases via duplicates of the actual onboard hardware. That test platform was only completed recently, and mission planners concluded that there's not enough time to fully test the software before the launch window closes. Psyche is especially sensitive to its control software since it's moving through the Solar System powered by a weak-but-efficient ion drive. This requires it to start operating under its own control 70 days after launch, in contrast to missions that might get a rocket-powe
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Samsung is getting ready to release its massive 55-inch curved Odyssey Ark monitor in August, according to a report from Korean outlet ETNews (via SamMobile). The monitor, which was announced in January at CES, has reportedly gone through a few certification programs that have to be done before it can go on sale. Details about this monitor are still scant. The company has said that it’ll have a 16:9 4K panel and that the stand will support pivot, tilt, and rotation. It also announced that it would come out in the second half of 2022 (which the reported August window falls squarely in). But let’s be honest, when you show up with a monitor that promises to physically tower over you whil
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For people who love discovering new sounds, there’s an intriguing new site that collects soundscapes from around the world. The site, Earth.fm, bills itself as “Like Spotify, but for natural s
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Cyberpunk 2077 is getting a board game courtesy of a Kickstarter campaign. Cyberpunk 2077: Gangs of Night City is a strange twist on the high-tech, low-life underbelly of the world brought to life by CD Projekt Red and Mike Pondsmith. The game is being published by CMON Games, which have put together board game adaptations of God of War and Bloodborne in addition to other existing IPs. If the slang-ridden synopsis of the game provided on its Kickstarter page is any indicator, it’s clear that its creators have some serious reverence for the source material: “Cyberpunk 2077: Gangs of Night City is a competitive game in which 1 to 4 players take on the role of ruthless gangs vying for co
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Enlarge / Much of the heart is composed of muscle cells like the ones shown here. Earlier this year, news broke of the first experimental xen
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