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Let there be light — Experiments could enhance our understanding of the origin of prehistoric art in caves Enlarge / Spanish archaeologists recreated three common types of Paleolithic lighting systems.Medina-Alcaide et al, 2021, PLOS ONEIn 1993, a media studies professor at Fordham University named Edward Wachtel visited several famous caves in southern France, including Lascaux, Font-de-Gaume, Les Combarelles, and La Mouthe. His purpose: to study the cave art that has justly made these caves famous.  Wachtel was puzzled by what he called "spaghetti lines" on the drawings, partially obscuring them. There were also images of, say, an ibex with two heads, a mammal with three trunks, or a bull drawing superimposed over the drawing of a deer. His guide for the La Mouthe tour was a local farmer, and since there were no electric lights in this cave, the farmer brought along a gas lantern. When the farmer swung the lantern inside the cave, the color schemes shifted, and the engraved lines seemed to animate. "Suddenly, the head of one creature stood out clearly," Wachtel recalled. "It lived for a second, then faded as another appeared." As for those mysterious spaghetti lines, "they became a forest or a bramble patch that concealed and then reveled the animals within." Wachtel subsequently published a paper entitled, "The First Picture Show: Cinematic Aspects of Cave Art," in which he concluded that the cave drawings were meant to be perceived in three dimensions—one of them being time. These could have been the first "protomovies," he thought. It's an intriguing take, although it must be said that Wachtel's ideas are speculative. There is no way to definitively prove what those prehistoric cave artists intended, and therefore it's unwise to draw strong inferences about these being cinematic in nature, or to assume that this tells us anything about prehistoric artists' conception of time. But his point about the importance of viewing cave paintings under the lighting conditions in which they were created and viewed in prehistoric times is sound. Enlarge / La Mouthe: (left) Painted etching of a hut (or an animal trap). Edward Wachtel found that a moving, flickering light source would cause the colors of the hut to change, and the animals around it to appear and disappear. (right) A sketch shows "spaghetti lines" over various animalsWachtel's story recently resurfaced in a Twitter thread, and it couldn't be more timely. Lighting sources could indeed hold vital clues to the different ways prehistoric peoples used caves, according to a new paper by a team of Spanish scientists, published in the journal PLOS ONE. They conducted in situ experiments with three different kinds of Paleolithic lighting sources, in the hopes of shedding some light (pun intended) on what those various illumination methods might tell us about the emergence of "human symbolic and artistic behavior" in the form of cave art. There are nearly 350 such prehistoric caves in France and Spain alone, including the oldest cave painting
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The facial recognition program used by nearly two dozen US states to to verify people seeking unemployment benefits is working inconsistently, leading to many people being denied benefits or having their applications put on hold, Motherboard reported. The identity verification service ID.me is intended to help reduce unemployment fraud, and uses biometric data and official documents to verify people. But according to Motherboard, some who have applied for unemployment have reported that ID.me has failed to identify them correctly, and that they have had difficulty reaching someone at ID.me
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Following a recommendation from its Oversight Board, Facebook says it will update its community standards to be clearer about how it handles satirical content, the company said in a blog post. “We’ll add information to the Community Standards that makes it clear where we consider satire as part of our assessment of context-specific decisions,” according to the post. “This change will allow teams to consider satire when assessing potential Hate Speech violations.” The update comes after the Oversight Board determined that Facebook was wrong to remove a user’s comment with a ref
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Next week is when Prime Day 2021 begins. We’ll be here early on Monday and continue scouring deals through Tuesday night, bringing you the best deals on the tech we know you’ll like. However, before that, on Sunday, is Father’s Day. If you’ve already gotten a gift for the dad in your life, hopefully you‘ll be able to celebrate together in some manner. But, if you haven’t yet, it’s never too late to get one through our thoughtfully-curated gift guide. Get $150 off Apple’s Magic Keyboard for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro Best Buy is offering a rare discount on the Magic Keyboard for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro (that fits even the latest M1-equipped version). Normally $349, it’s $199 for all of Saturday. Usually, it’s just the 11-inch model that sees a big discount. This keyboard has USB-C passthrough charging, it’s sturdy, and it has an excellent trackpad and keyboard. Keep in mind, though, that it’s going to add a good amount of weight and thickness while attached to your iPad Pro. Apple Magic Keyboard This version of Apple’s Magic Keyboard can fit the iPad Pro (12.9-inch) that charges via USB-C. It provides a set of backlit keys and a trackpad so you can be more productive or perhaps horse around with more efficiency. $199 at Best Buy (12.9-inch) Image: Philips Whether for Father’s Day or for yourself, Philips Hue is offering solid deals on two smart light bundles. The first is a three-pack of standard E26 white and color ambiance bulbs for $100 (usually $135). If you want to turn the color in your bathroom to blue and your living room to green, these are the bulbs for you. They’re Bluetooth-enabled, too, so you don’t need a Hue bridge accessory to use them, which is appealing. Though, if you want more instantaneous and seamless functionality, you may want to eventually get that Hue Bridge at some point — and th
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With COVID-19 restrictions lifting in some places and outbreaks popping up in others, the pandemic has officially entered the weird zone. Okay, there’s nothing official about it, but the entire world is in a strange transition time right now — and likely will be for a while. Unlike the jump-cut into the pandemic, or even the suspenseful vaccine ramp-up, this time is more hopeful, less frantic, but also stretched out in an uneven mess. Places, populations, and even industries are moving at different paces as they move back to some semblance of normality. It’s like the entire globe is playing by a perverse version of “yes, and.” Yes, more people are vaccinated in the US than before, and immunocompromised people are still at risk. Yes, the vaccines that we have are stunningly effective, and they are in such short supply that many countries are absolutely desperate to get them. Here in the US, one of the most visible transitions is the vanishing act of various COVID-19 regulations. New York lifted most restrictions this week, and Disneyland reopened to everyone, without mask requirements. People in those areas are enjoying a return to offices, and restaurants and blessed normalcy — especially in regions where case rates are low. At the same time, parts of the country where vaccination rates have stayed low face the potential of summer surges. Tensions between different regions will linger as long as disparities remain. In the pharmaceutical and research realm, there’s a different shift. The flurry of clinical trials and lab work that accompanied vaccine development is now slowing. There are still thousands of questions, but the biggest and most urgent — can we make a vaccine? — has been answered. Now, research focuses have shifted and split. Some are still working on vaccines and boosters, others are investigating new COVID-19 drugs or seeking to understand the virus’s origins and mechanics, and others have gone back to different projects entirely. With vaccines, the biggest issues are now monitoring and distribution, not research and development. How people feel about all of these changes is another factor entirely — personal shifts in priorities, fears, and emotions are going to play a huge role in this next phase of the pandemic. As vaccinations go up and case numbers go down, eventually, we’ll get used to the coronavirus, and it will cease to be an unknown threat. We’ll stop thinking about it every day — some people already have. In the meantime, most people are stuck somewhere in the wide gap between caution and abandon. Each person will eventually move past their own personal marker for the pandemic era. It might come when they get that second shot or step into a theatre for the first time or leave a mask sitting on the table at home. As with all transitions, something will end, and something else will take its place. As a quick note before we get into what happened with COVID-19 this week, I also wanted to note that you might see some new (small) changes to this newsletter. Eventually, we’ll shift the newsletter over to a weekday instead of a Saturday. And starting next week, I’ll be handing over
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Just carryin' on an old family tradition — Two Viking Age warriors from the same family died hundreds of kilometers apart. Ida Marie Odgaard AFPRoughly a thousand years ago, a young man in his early 20s met a violent end in England. 800 kilometers (500 miles) away, in Denmark, an older man who had survived a lifetime of battles died sometime in his 50s. At first glance, there’s nothing to suggest a connection between them over such a distance. But according to a recent study of their DNA, the two men were second-degree relatives: half-siblings, uncle and nephew, or grandfather and grandson. Today, their skeletons lie side-by-side in the National Museum of Denmark, reunited after centuries, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported. Geneticists sequenced the pair’s DNA as part of a much larger study, which sampled and sequenced ancient DNA from more than 400 human skeletons at sites across Europe and Greenland. That data revealed that Vikings were much more ethnically diverse than historians have often assumed, and it helped track the migrations that defined the Viking Age. Against the backdrop of those larger patterns, the ancient DNA from two skeletons, buried hundreds of kilometers apart under very different circumstances, told a much more personal story. “This is a big discovery because now you can trace movements across space and time through a family,” Jeannette Varberg of the National Museum of Denmark said. Given what is known about the Viking Age, it’s easy to imagine at least the broad strokes of this family’s story. The 50-year-old may have been a veteran of raids along the coast of continental Europe, or a returning veteran of raids on the British Isles; his bones showed evidence of old, long-healed wounds sustained in combat. But he lived to a relatively old age for his time and occupation (as they say, beware an old man in a profession where men usually die young). The 20-year-old may have may have died during a raid on the English coast, or he may have been caught up in King Ethelred II’s 1002 CE purge of Danes living in England. He ended up in a mass grave in Oxford, England, with his skull shattered by the blows that killed him. It’s reasonable to speculate that the two men knew each other, or at least knew of each other, but there’s not enough evidence for archaeologists to say whether they lived at the same time, or which of them was born first. “It’s very difficult to tell if they lived in the same age or they differ maybe by a generation, because you have no material in the grave that can give a precise dating,” Varberg said. It’s plausible that the young man who died in England went to battle with thoughts of impressing a sibling, an uncle, or a grandfather back in Denmark; perhaps they fought side-by-side, or perhaps he was hoping to live up to his elder’s stories. Then again, it’s equally plausible that the veteran warrior who died in Denmark remembered the stories o
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PayPal said Friday it is raising fees for some of its newer products “to better align our pricing with the value that our products and services provide,” according to a blog post by senior vice president Dan Leberman. The changes will affect how much PayPal merchants pay per transaction, and take effect August 2nd. “PayPal has become more than just a button or payment processor to be a full commerce platform capable of driving growth for businesses,” according to the blog post. “Consumers are nearly three times more likely to complete their purchase when PayPal is available at checkout.” In the past, PayPal has had a flat rate for sellers processing payments, charging 2.9 pe
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If you’ve spent some time playing Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, you might feel like you’re playing a blockbuster family-friendly action movie — and that’s not just because of the game’s many perfectly timed set pieces. Rift Apart is also backed by a sweeping score composed by the legendary musician Mark Mothersbaugh. You might recognize Mothersbaugh as the co-founder of the band Devo or as the composer of Nickelodeon’s Rugrats. But I suggest you also scroll through his IMDb page. He’s been a jaw-droppingly prolific composer with work stretching back to the 1980s, and he has credits on films (The Lego Movie, Thor: Ragnarok), TV series (What We Do in the Shadows, Dawson’s Cre
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Beyond uncouth — Researchers try different approaches to solve problem of amplifying negative stereotypes. Getty ImagesIn July 2020, OpenAI launched GPT-3, an artificial intelligence language model that quickly stoked excitement about computers writing poetry, news articles, and programming code. Just as quickly, it was shown to sometimes be foulmouthed and toxic. OpenAI said it was working on fixes, but the company recently discovered GPT-3 was being used to generate child porn. Now OpenAI researchers say they’ve found a way to curtail GPT
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In brief The Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS), which set sail this week from the UK to the US, failed just three days into its journey. It appears a mechanical fault occurred, something the Mayflower's AI can't fix itself. Oh no - bit of a mechanical problem with @AI_Mayflower. She’s safe but is clearly out of sorts. We are going back to base to investigate. We’ll hopefully be turned around again soon. Thanks for your support! — Artie the Octopus (@ArtieHas7Legs) June 18, 2021 Netizens, eager to track the computer-controlled, human-less Mayflower's progress from its online dashboard, realized something was up when the live video stream from the ship was turned off. The official Twitte
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On Thursday, a jury in a federal court in Oakland, California, found call center biz [24]7.ai – as in, 24/7 – guilty of unfair competition and stealing trade secrets from chatbot maker LivePerson, awarding the company more than $30m in damages. The case was filed in 2014. In its complaint [PDF], LivePerson described how its partnership with 24/7 went bad. LivePerson provides online engagement technology, which takes the form of chatbots that corporate clients add to their websites to field questions, gather interaction data, and reduce customer support costs. 24/7 initially offered contract call center personnel to businesses, for times when a human touch is required. It subseque
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Google may be working on turning Android phones into a hivemind capable of finding lost devices, similar to Apple’s Find My network, according to analysis done by 9to5Google. A toggle for the feature showed up in a beta of Google Play Services, with code referencing the ability for phones to help locate other devices, potentially signaling that Android phones could soon become easier to find. According to Google’s support page, the current Find My Device system can only find phones that are powered on, have a data or Wi-Fi signal, and have location services enabled. At this early stage, it’s unclear which, if any, of those limitations the relay network feature — apparently called
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Amazon this week said it would reduce its Appstore commission rate for less successful developers, following recent similar moves by Apple and Google, and is sweetening its deal by offering AWS credits to support apps' backend services. "Starting in Q4, for developers that earned less than $1m in revenue in the previous calendar year, we are increasing developer revenue share and adding AWS credit options," said Palanidaran Chidambaram, director of the Amazon Appstore, in a blog post. "This brings total program benefits up to an equivalent of 90 percent of revenue." Amazon will allow developers to retain 80 per cent of app revenue, keeping 20 per cent for itself. The company suggests those using AWS credits will add another 10 per cent to the developer take. It's calling its largesse the Amazon Appstore Small Business Accelerator Program. The Amazon Appstore supports the company's Android fork, FireOS, which powers its Fire tablets and TV devices, as well as its Echo smart speakers. It also distributes Android apps and can be installed on Android phones as an alternative to Google Play. Google in March this year said it plans to halve its 30 per cent Google Play commission for devs earning less than $1m annually, starting in July. Apple in November last year dropped its standard 30 per cent App Store commission to 15 per cent for the under-$1m set, an initiative CEO Tim Cook characterized as an effort "to help small business owners" – presumably not the same small business owners Facebook has accused Apple of hurting with its wanton privacy controls. Fittingly, the overall financial impact of these qualified commission reductions is likely to be small. App analytics biz Sensor Tower last year noted that iOS app makers earning less than $1m annually, a group that includes 97.5 per cent of all app publishers, accounted for only 4.8 per cent of the Apple App Store's $59.3bn revenue from January through October in 2020. Among Google Play devs, 99 per cent earn less than $1m annually. Amazon's fit of targeted generosity comes just a week after US House lawmakers proposed a slate of five bills aimed at Amazon, Apple, Facebook
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We may have gotten our first look at Ring’s dashcam, courtesy of The Tape Drive, which posted an image of a Ring-branded camera that looks like it’s made to fit on a car’s dashboard. Based on a support article which Zats Not Funny discovered (and claims may have been published inadvertently) Ring’s Car Cam will have Alexa integration and the ability to start recording if you tell it you’ve been pulled over. The Car Cam was originally announced by the Amazon-owned company in September as a dashboard-mounted device which would record both the inside and outside of the vehicle, and was priced at $199. However, the support article about the Car Cam that’s been posted on Ring’s site says that the camera attaches to the windshield as well. The design, as depicted in The Tape Drive’s findings does seem like it could allow for that, if it comes apart into two pieces or extends. We’ll likely have to wait for an official announcement to get a good idea of how it works (and to see if this is actually an image of the Car Cam at all). The support article confirms many of the features that were teased when Amazon announced the Car Cam last September, but reveals several new ones as well. It states that the camera will plug into your car’s OBD-II port, and that a subscr
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The US Federal Communications Commission is pressing forward with a proposal that would ban telecommunications providers [PDF] from using equipment made by manufacturers deemed to present a risk to national security. The agency has opened a request for comments on rules that would revoke the certification of any equipment listed by the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019. This probe has also sought to gauge the temperature for withdrawing certification for "high-risk" equipment already deployed by carriers. Both Huawei and ZTE were listed in the notification, as well as smaller entities that have earned the ire of US government. These include the Hytera Communications Corporation, which produces radio systems for cellular and industrial users, as well as video surveillance vendors Dahua and Hikvision. Dahua and Hikvision have both been accused of providing technology used in the surveillance of China's Uighur minority. SpaceX spat with Viasat: Rival accused of abusing legislation to halt Elon's Starlink expansion Vodafone names vendors tapped for Britain's first wide-scale OpenRAN build: NEC, Dell, and Samsung Huawei flings open the doors of its third privacy and security transparency centre Ohio Attorney General asks courts to declare Google a public utility The proposed rule change represents an escalation in the FCC's attempt to remove Huawei and ZTE from the US telecommunications network. Its previous tactics included preventing rural carriers from using federal subsidies to acquire new equipment from designated high-risk offenders. Although most of the big names in the US telecoms market rely on gear made by Ericsson, Nokia, and to a lesser extent Samsung, cash-strapped providers servicing rural markets have traditionally opted to go with the cheapest option available. In many cases, this has been Huawei. In a statement, FCC acting chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said it "did not make sense" to ban new procurement while allowing existing equipment to remain in circulation, nor to allow carriers to buy high-risk gear with their own funds. "Despite having identified security concerns with telecommunication
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A New York congressman has introduced a federal right-to-repair bill, just a week after the state's Senate passed a bill addressing the same issue. That state bill has failed to progress, we note. The proposed federal-level legislation, though, would compel original equipment manufacturers to provide consumers and independent businesses access to the tools, schematics, and parts required to fix broken devices. Dubbed the Fair Repair Act, and proposed by House Rep Joe Morelle (D-NY), the bill would provide an equal basis for all consumers and independent repair shops. Although great strides have been made pushing similar legislation on the state level, with bills introduced or passed in 27 states this year alone, progress has not been evenly divided. In a statement, Congressman Morelle said: "For too long, large corporations have hindered the progress of small business owners and everyday Americans by preventing them from the right to repair their own equipment. "This common-sense legislation will help make technology repairs more accessible and affordable for items from cell phones to laptops to farm equipment, finally giving individuals the autonomy they deserve." If passed, the bill would empower the Federal Trade Commission to enforce the rules, either through financial penalties, or by reforming existing contracts. The same powers would also be provided to state attorneys. Unlike other bills previously passed, this would expand to all varieties of electronic devices. By contrast, the Massachusetts right-to-repair bill passed by referendum in 2020 was limited to cars. New York State Senate first to pass landmark right-to-repair bill – but don't go popping the Champagne just yet Apple ditches support for pre-2015 MacBook Air, Pro laptops with macOS Monterey Apple settles with student after authorized repair workers leaked her naked pics to her Facebook page iFixit publishes teardown of M1 iMac, shows that making a determination of repairability is still hard The bill has been welcomed by advocacy groups. Kerry Sheehan, US policy lead at iFixit, said: "Big tech companies shouldn't be able to dictate how we use th
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The YouTube app on iOS will be getting picture-in-picture support, allowing all users to watch videos while doing other things on their iPhones and iPads. A YouTube spokesperson told The Verge that the feature is currently rolling out to Premium subscribers, and that a launch for all iOS users (including the free ones) in the US is in the works. Apple added support for picture-in-picture video for iPads with iOS 9, and brought it to iPhones with iOS 14. Since then, YouTube’s support for the feature on iPhones and iPads has been spotty — it works for iPad if you’re using Safari (though some have reported it doesn’t work for non-Premium subscribers); iPhone users have only been able to access the feature periodically. That complication seems to be going away, at least for those
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Ultra-billionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has already been the subject of a petition asking him not to return to Earth after he blasts off in his New Shepard rocket on July 20, but even if he is allowed back, Bezos is now facing an even more difficult prospect. The aerodynamically-pated arch-villain archetype and his vast fortune are increasingly becoming subjects of fascination for the denizens of campaign website Change.org, with multiple petitions currently running, mostly trying to persuade him to divert some of his almost-limitless resources toward good causes. However, some users are suggesting more novel and entertaining uses for his immense wealth. Change.org user Kane Powell has chosen to use the platform to attempt to persuade Bezos to buy and eat the Mona Lisa, the supposedly
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Microsoft has unveiled a slew of developer tools, including a preview of the 64-bit Visual Studio 2022, ahead of that developer event set for 24 June. Preview 1 of Visual Studio 2022 comes direct from the department of never-say-never following version after version of the toolset remaining staunchly 32-bit, even as the hardware world changed around it. The move to 64-bit was announced earlier this year and is an ambitious one considering the ecosystem and sheer size of the Visual Studio codebase. Far be it from us to wonder how much cruft might be lurking within a product that has its roots in the previous century. "The 64-bit conversion effort affects every part of Visual Studio, so the scope is much bigger than our usual previews," explained Microsoft senior program manager Justin Johnson in a blog on the matter, meaning that the first release is not so much about whizzbang new features (although there are improvements to IntelliCode even if some bits of VS2019 are missing at present) but more about seeing if the old thing remains upright as programmers prod at it. Microsoft loves Linux so much that packages.microsoft.com has fallen and can't get
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Playmobil is set to boldly go where no three-inch man has gone before with the release of a metre-long replica of the NCC-1701 USS Enterprise from the original Star Trek series. The enormous model of the Federation Constitution-class vessel will come with standard-scale figures representing the main original series characters – Captain Kirk, Mr Spock, Dr McCoy, Chief Engineer Scott, Lieutenant Uhura, Lieutenant Sulu and Ensign Chekov – and features a removable panel on the disc section revealing "a full 1966-style bridge play environment" to allow children of all ages to recreate their favourite first-contact scenes. Click to enlarge Mr Scott also gets his own engineering section in the secondary hull, just in case he needs to do something fancy with the dilithium crystals, or even if he just fancies a quick dram and a bit of peace and quiet. Drama brews on high seas as Playmobil ship running out of steam Is this cough cancer, doc? No: it's a case of Playmobil on the lung Canadian rotter abducts giant Playmobil fireman The Life and Times of Lester Haines The huge set contains 136 pieces, including a stand in the shape of the Enterprise's emblem, a cradle to allow the model to be hung from a ceiling, various bridge furniture, phasers, tricorders, and communicators for the crew and even a few tribbles. Even more excitingly, the model features working lights and sound effects controlled from a dedicated smartphone app. The effects are powered by a USB port mounted on the starboard side of the engineering section, a feature which Scotty would doubtless have found incredibly helpful if he'd known about it. The Star Trek set sees Playmobil again creating a tribute t
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Tesla’s been talking up its Model S Plaid as “the quickest production car ever” claiming it can go from 0-60 in a blistering 1.99 seconds. It’s a claim that’s drawn a lot of raised eyebrows from car enthusiasts and experts. Can it really go that fast? Turns out, it can. But only under some incredibly specific Tesla-dictated conditions. That’s what Motor Trend found when it got an exclusive chance to test out the Model S Plaid. Instead of letting the publication put the car through its paces on its usual test track, Tesla’s PR insisted that their drivers use a specific test track, and drive that track in a particular way. Under Tesla’s conditions, Motor Trend went 0-60 in 1.98 seconds, running a quarter-mile in just 9.25 seconds. The entire review is definitely worth a read. But a key takeaway is that apparently, in order to hit that sub-two-second acceleration record, you’ll need the following ingredients: Find a dragstrip that’s willing to let you drive your Model S Plaid. This may be difficult, Motor Trend points out, as most dragstrips will insist on following NHRA regulations that call for speedy cars like this have added safety features like a roll cage and window safety net. Tesla won’t be offering those features, MotorTrend reports. If you do find a track willing to let you test your shiny new car’s zoom capability, make sure it has a surface prepped with a grippy resin that will help the car launch even more quickly. Regular asphalt sim
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Malware laced with racial epithets tries to block Windows-based victims from visiting file-sharing sites associated with copyright infringement, according to new Sophos research. The malicious software amounts to a "goofy process to block people from going to the Pirate Bay," according to Sophos researcher Andrew Brandt, who stumbled across the malware after a colleague mentioned it in passing. Rather than opening a backdoor for a ransomware gang to exploit or dropping a malicious payload, however, this malware merely sinkholes a bunch of Pirate Bay domain names by adding them to the Windows
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General Fusion – the Canadian-based atomic outfit backed by Jeff Bezos and a battalion of other major investors – is to build a test facility in Oxfordshire to showcase its power-generating technology. Following a COVID-friendly handshake, the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) has given General Fusion the green light to proceed with its Fusion Demonstration Plant (FDP) at UKAEA's Centre for Fusion Energy Campus in Culham. The campus – a Royal Navy airbase until it was handed to the UKAEA in 1960 – is home to a cluster of fusion development technologies. The building of the new
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Texas’ energy grid, which failed spectacularly over the winter during a stretch of historically cold weather, will be put to the test again this weekend, as temperatures across much of the state are forecast to be in the upper 90s. Despite assurances from Gov. Greg Abbott that “everything that needed to be done was done to fix the power grid in Texas,” earlier this week the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) urged customers to adjust thermostats to 78 degrees or higher and cut back on electricity use for several days. Texas residents with smart thermostats are eligible for
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The amount of heat trapped by Earth’s land, ocean, and atmosphere doubled over the course of just 14 years, a new study shows. To figure out how much heat the earth was trapping, researchers looked at NASA satellite measurements that tracked how much of the Sun’s energy was entering Earth’s atmosphere and how much was being bounced back into space. They compared this with data from NOAA buoys that tracked ocean temperatures — which gives them an idea of how much heat is getting absorbed into the ocean. The difference between the amount of heat absorbed by Earth, and the amount reflected back into space is called an energy imbalance. In this case, they found that from 2005 to 2019, the amount of heat absorbed by Earth was going up. Their results were published in Geophysical Res
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The UK's financial regulator is refusing to say whether it will accept an offer by Google to pay back more than £600,000 spent on online ads warning people about the dangers of money scams. News that Google made the offer came to light earlier this week during oral evidence [PDF] to the Treasury Committee hearing on economic crime. Among those giving evidence was Mark Steward, director of enforcement and market insight at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). He was quizzed by Rushinara Ali, Labour MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, who wanted to know about the £600,000 the FCA is paying Google to run ads warning about online financial scams. She asked: "Is it appropriate for a regulator to have to post warnings while Google profits from social media companies that make money out of
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Bismuth is a heavy, brittle metal that forms colorful geometric crystals when melted and then slowly cooled. It’s most commonly known as a main ingredient in Pepto Bismol — less commonly known as bismuth subsalicylate. And someday soon, it might be used to help power your electronics. Scientists like Robert Hoye, a lecturer in the department of materials at Imperial College London, are using bismuth-based compounds in photovoltaics — materials that convert light into energy. Bismuth has unique electronic properties that not only make it a good candidate for solar cells, but make it great for indoor use — a place where traditional photovoltaics don’t perform too well. That means it might one day replace the need for batteries in billions of indoor electronics, like home sensor
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Pornhub sued again — “I seek justice for myself and the countless victims who don't come forward.” Enlarge / A Pornhub logo at the company's booth during the 2018 AVN Adult Expo on January 25, 2018, in Las Vegas, Nevada.Pornhub was sued yesterday by 34 women alleging that the site hosted videos without their consent and profited from other nonconsensual content involving rape, child sexual abuse, and human trafficking. Of the victims involved in the lawsuit, 14 said they were victims of people charged with or convicted of sex crimes, and 14 said they were underage in the videos served on Pornhub. “It is time for the companies and indiv
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The Boring Company has been pitching potential clients on a much wider tunnel than any it has built so far, Bloomberg reported, which could be used to transport freight. Since its inception in 2016, the Elon Musk-helmed tunneling startup has been focused on tunnels that would transport passengers, with a goal to “solve the problem of soul-destroying traffic” in cities. But the new pitch deck Bloomberg obtained shows how wider tunnels could be used for transporting freight, something that would greatly expand Boring’s potential business. According to Bloomberg, the company’s new pitch includes tunnels that are 21 feet in diameter, nearly twice the size of the 12-foot tunnels the company has built so far, which could accommodate two shipping containers side by side. The company mo
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Prime Day 2021 is kicking off in just a few days. Prime members will get to enjoy exclusive tech and gaming discounts on Amazon. In addition, other retailers like Best Buy, Walmart, and Target will each be having deals of their own that don’t require a subscription. We’ll be covering the deals in-depth starting Monday morning, June 21st, so join us then. We’re collecting the best early Prime Day deals right here, but here are a few more excellent deals to take us into the weekend. Through Sunday, people who sign up for a free My Best Buy account can get $150 off most of Apple’s last-gen iPad Pro in both the 11-inch and 12.9-inch sizes. This limited-time price cut results in the best prices we’ve seen for the Wi-Fi and LTE-connected tablets. To give you a sense of the prices, t
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Ian Glover, president of infosec accreditation body CREST, is stepping down from his post, he told the organisation's annual general meeting yesterday. Sources whispered of Glover's departure to The Register ahead of a mass mailout today to members of the organisation, which oversees some industry-recognised penetration testing exams and certifications in the UK. "My retirement is something I have been planning for some time and, while I leave with a heavy heart, I am confident CREST will continue to move forward in the hands of an excellent team," said the man himself in a canned statement emailed round CREST member organisations, following his 13 years at the helm. CREST had not responded to The Register's request to interview Glover by the time of writing. He will remain in post
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Every Friday, The Verge publishes our flagship podcast, The Vergecast, where co-hosts Nilay Patel and Dieter Bohn discuss the week in tech news with the reporters and editors covering the biggest stories. In this episode, the show is split into three sections. First, Nilay and Dieter talk to Verge senior editor Tom Warren about this week in Microsoft: leaks of the Windows 11 UI, announcements from E3 2021, and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella doubling as the company’s chairman. Windows 11 leak reveals new UI, Start menu, and more Microsoft Teams’ new front row layout arrives later this year Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella now doubles as the company’s chairman Microsoft announces Xbox TV app and its own xCloud ... Microsoft is bringing next-gen Xbox games to the Xbox One with xCloud Even
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Civil liberties — LAPD officers "spread the word" for the startup, helping it gain market share. When Ring wanted to boost sales of it surveillance cameras and burnish its self-styled image as a crime-fighting company, it embarked on a brand-ambassador marketing campaign that would be familiar to many startups. But rather than chase down the Instagram influencers or beat bloggers, the company instead wooed officers at the Los Angeles Police Department. For years, including during Amazon’s early ownership of the company, Ring gave no fewer than 100 LAPD officers free devices or discount codes worth tens of thousands of dollars, and possibly
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If you buy something from a Verge link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement. Seeing a laptop with an OLED screen at a sub-$1,000 price point is wild. Not too long ago, finding that display technology under $2,000 would’ve been unthinkable. But if there’s anyone I’d trust to make sub-$1,000 OLED happen, it’s Asus, one of the masters of affordable, portable laptops. And if there’s any combination of companies I’d trust to make sub-$1,000 OLED happen without a battery life disaster, it’s Asus and AMD. That’s about what we got from the Asus ZenBook 13 OLED. Asus hasn’t finalized pricing on all units yet, but it gave me a range of $750 to $1,000. The unit I have — which includes AMD’s Ryzen 7 5800U, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB of storage, in addition to t
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Review Mechanical keyboard manufacturers have typically swerved Mac users. It's not personal, it's just business. The Mac has a fraction of the traditional PC market share, and a significant proportion of mechanical keyboards are intended for competitive gamers, rather than those who type for work (be they developers or writers, or in the case of your correspondent, both). The Vissles V84 is therefore a bit of an oddity. This compact keyboard (84 keys) ships with a Mac layout by default, although it comes bundled with standard Windows keycaps, as well as the ability to switch into a standard PC layout by pressing down a key combination. Hot swappable And, unusually for a keyboard that panders to the Mac elite, it also touts the ability to remove and replace the key switches. The Vissl
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The original inventor of a popular XML standard, Rick Jelliffe, who created Schematron, has protested that his open source work is now behind a paywall at standards body ISO. Schematron is a language for validating XML, designed for processing XML documents and reporting on errors. Version 1.0 was developed in 1999, since when it has been enhanced and standardised, with the latest version being ISO/IEC 19757-3:2020. This replaced the 2016 version: ISO/IEC 19757-3:2016. The Schematron standard is one of those administered by a JTC (Joint Technical Committee), called ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 34, which oversees "Document description and processing languages." In the case of the 2020 edition, which is some corrections and additional annexes only to the freely available 2016 edition, it is ri
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Yo (Sole)Noid — The default package is worth its $600 cost, but do your research before buying. Enlarge / Say hello to the Arcade1Up Attack From Mars physical pinball cabinet. The chassis is physical; its games are all virtual. Read below to understand what the heck that means.Sam MachkovechIf you're of a certain generation, chances are you have imagined (or, at this point in your adulthood, built) your own home arcade that resembles something out of the golden '80s era. One useful path to making this a reality, especially in tighter quarters, is the "multicade," an invention that squishes multiple games into a single cabinet. But what if your old-school gaming dreams revolve around something bigger and bulkier, particularly pinball? Until recently, your options were either buying a bunch of original pinball cabinets or building your own ground-up emulation solution. And the latter is complicated by the realities of how pinball plays and feels. I've wondered how long it would take for that to change in the gaming-nostalgia market, especially as companies like Arcade1Up produce and sell more multicade cabinets for home use. The time for change is now, evidently, thanks to a handful of manufacturers producing pinball multicades. Arcade1Up in particular launched three distinct pinball emulation cabinets this year, each revolving around a different license. Thanks to Arcade1Up, I've gone hands-on with arguably the most interesting product in its 2021 pinball line: a collection of 10 classic tables, all created by Williams duri
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A year after Bungie said it would explore making an official Destiny Toaster during a charity livestream, our bread-based dreams are finally becoming a reality. The Destiny Toaster is now available to preorder from Bungie’s online store for $84.99. It’s not due to ship until at least December, but Bungie says that once it does it’ll toast the game’s Tricorn logo into every slice of bread it touches. Does it also make normal toast? We have no clue. If you’re a little lost as to why the developer of Destiny would go to the effort of making a toaster (because lord knows I was), PCGamer has you covered. Apparently “getting that bread” is in-game slang for getting a good loot drop, and there’s also a gun in the game that’s the spitting image of a toaster. It’ll even burn Destiny’s Tricorn logo into your bread. Image: Bungie There’s also a charity angle. Bungie originally promised to explore the idea if its charity stream raised over $777,777.77 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and it eventually hit over $800,000. Plus, when the toaster goes on sale, the developer says 10 percent of the profits it generates will go to the research hospital. If you’re looking for a more selfish reason to preorder, however, then the toaster also comes with a free sandwich holder and a Burnt Edges in-game emblem. If the sound of a video game company making a toaster sounds familiar, then you might be thinking of Razer’s toaster which, after years of memes, it claimed it was going to make for real in 2019. But despite receiving a
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Successful applicant must 'change existing thinking', which is odd as it's all been going so well up to now Other stories you might like Poltergeist attack could leave autonomous vehicles blind to obstacles – or haunt them with new ones First 'AMpLe' concept proves worryingly simple to implement with success Researchers at the Ubiquitous System Security Lab of Zhejiang University and the University of Michigan's Security and Privacy Research Group say they've found a way to blind autonomous vehicles to obstacles using simple audio signals. "Autonomous vehicles increasingly exploit computer-vision based object detection systems to perceive environments and make critical driving decisions," they explained in the abstract to a newly released paper. "To increase the quality of images, image stabilisers with inertial sensors are added to alleviate image blurring caused by camera jitter. "However, such a trend opens a new attack surface. This paper identifies a system-level vulnerability resulting from the combination of the emerging image stabiliser hardware susceptible to acoustic manipulation and the object detection algorithms subject to adversarial examples." Continue reading BOFH: When the Sun rises in the West and sets in the East, only then will the UPS cease to supply uninterrupted voltage Until that time, if it ain't broke... oh god, someone call the ambulance Episode 8 "E
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Don't leave the ecosystem — Upgraded data protection and less reliance on the cloud could lock users in. Getty ImagesSince the dawn of the iPhone, many of the smarts in smartphones have come from elsewhere: the corporate computers known as the cloud. Mobile apps sent user data cloudward for useful tasks like transcribing speech or suggesting message replies. Now Apple and Google say smartphones are smart enough to do some crucial and sensitive machine learning tasks like those on their own. At Apple’s WWDC event this month, the company said its virtual assistant Siri will transcribe speech without tapping the cloud in some languages on recent and future iPhones and iPads. During its own I/O developer event last month, Google said the latest version of its Android operating system has a feature dedicated to secure, on-device processing of sensitive data, called the Private Compute Core. Its initial uses include powering the version of the company’s Smart Reply feature built into its mobile keyboard that can suggest responses to incoming messages. Apple and Google both say on-device machine learning offers more privacy and snappier apps. Not trans
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No free launch — "The Space Safari team intends to push the envelope." Enlarge / A Falcon 9 rocket goes supersonic on Thursday, launching a GPS III satellite for the Space Force.Welcome to Edition 4.03 of the Rocket Report! This week saw two significant launches back-to-back. On Wednesday evening, US time, China launched its first crewed mission to its new space station, which was also the country's first human spaceflight in nearly five years. And then, less than a day later, the US Space Force joined the ranks of reusable launch customers. As always, we welcome reader submissions, and if you don't want to miss an issue, please subscribe using the box below (the form will not appear on AMP-enabled versions of the site). Each report will include information on small-, medium-, and heavy-lift rockets as well as a quick look ahead at the next three launches on the calendar. Blue Origin sells first New Shepard seat for $28 million. A ticket to take a brief trip to space with Amazon founder Jeff Bezos on July 20 has been sold at auction for $28 million. The bidding process, which began in early May, drew offers from more than 7,000 participants from 159 countries, Blue Origin said. The price had stood at $4.8 million ahead of Saturday's live auction, which was streamed online, the Financial Times reports. Two passengers yet unnamed ... The identity of the winning bidder has not yet been made public but will be revealed in the coming weeks, Blue Origin said. Whoever it is will be traveling with three other passengers, including Bezos and his younger brother, Mark. The "fourth and final" passenger will be announced soon, the company said. The winning bid amount will be donated to Club for the Future, Blue Origin's foundation focused on STEM education programs. (submitted by Ken the Bin) Rocket Lab will design two small Mars spacecraft. Rocket Lab said Tuesday it has been awarded a subcontract by the University of California, Berkeley's Space Sciences Laboratory to design two Photon spacecraft for a scientific mission to
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Promo If your organisation still relies on a creaking, legacy database, it’s not just your data administrators who are suffering. You’re putting your ability to exploit the full benefits of the cloud, and ultimately your entire digital transformation, at risk. So, you may be pleased to hear that many organisations have not just overcome the challenge of modernising their data infrastructure for the cloud era but shared their stories at the Nutanix Database Summit earlier this month. Best of all, this was all condensed into just two hours of presentations, which are now available on demand, for you to enjoy and learn from at your leisure. The agenda included a keynote from Tony Baer, founder and CEO of DbInsight, who along with Monica Kumar, SVP marketing at Nutanix, detailed how database as a service can drive both efficiency and performance in the hybrid cloud. This was followed by a series of presentations from customers and partners which highlighted how DBaaS is delivering benefits today. These included Dominic Maidment, technology architect at Total Energies Gas & Power, who explained how the energy giant is delivering on legacy modernisation and database automation. From the financial world, Kuwait Investment Company’s Robert Nelson explained how the organisation is modernizing core banking applications for the cloud era. Other speakers included Peter Zaitsev, founder and CEO of Percona; Álvaro Hernández, founder and CEO of Ongres; and Piyush Saxena, global hybrid cloud head at HCL, who all explained ways in which database transformation can deliver real world economic advantage. And Andrew Brinded, VP and general manager EMEA, and Jeremy Launier, senior director, product management, at Nutanix used their closing keynote to explain how the relentless demand for innovation becomes far easier to meet when enterprises can rely on DBaaS to deliver simple to use and secure solutions. Whether your move to the hybrid cloud is in the planning stage, or in full swing, you’ll come away with lots of information, and we’re sure, even more new ideas. All you need to do is click here to watch. Sponsored by Nutanix
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Everyone’s favorite digital pet, the Tamagotchi, is being reinvented for its 25th anniversary. The new Tamagotchi Smart puts the creature into a colorful smartwatch, allowing you to strap your digital pet — and all the chores that come with it — directly to your wrist. Kotaku reports that the new device features a touchscreen for petting your little friend, voice recognition for chatting, and a pedometer. Oh, and it can also display the time. Neat. After their original release of the Tamagotchi in the late 90s, there was a global flurry of enthusiasm, leading to a spin-off anime serie
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Clippety-Cl0p — Arrests of Cl0p hacker group members adds to pressure on other countries to follow suit. Enlarge / A Colonial Pipeline facility in Woodbridge, New Jersey. Hackers last month disrupted the pipeline supplying petroleum to much of the East Coast.Ukrainian police have arrested members of a notorious ransomware gang that recently targeted American universities, as pressure mounts on global law enforcement to crack down on cybercriminals. The Ukraine Na
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Researchers at the Ubiquitous System Security Lab of Zhejiang University and the University of Michigan's Security and Privacy Research Group say they've found a way to blind autonomous vehicles to obstacles using simple audio signals. "Autonomous vehicles increasingly exploit computer-vision based object detection systems to perceive environments and make critical driving decisions," they explained in the abstract to a newly released paper. "To increase the quality of images, image stabilisers with inertial sensors are added to alleviate image blurring caused by camera jitter. "However, such a trend opens a new attack surface. This paper identifies a system-level vulnerability resulting from the combination of the emerging image stabiliser hardware susceptible to acoustic manipulation and the object detection algorithms subject to adversarial examples." To try to prove their point, the team came up with Poltergeist: an attack against camera-based computer-vision systems, as found in autonomous vehicles, which uses audio to trigger the image stabilisation functions of the camera sensor and blur the image – tricking the machine learning system into ignoring obstacles in its way. "The blur caused by unnecessary motion compensation can change the outline, the size, and even the colour of an existing object or an image region without any objects," the team found, "which may lead to hiding, altering an existing object, or creating a non-existing object." The team categorised these in turn as Hiding Attacks (HA), Creating Attacks (CA), and Altering Attacks (AA). It's the first example of what the researchers have claimed as a new class of attack: AMpLe, a somewhat clunky shuffled backronym for "injecting physics into adversarial machine learning." Nvidia gobbles up mapping startup to help automakers install its self-driving platform Tesla Autopilot is a lot dumber than CEO Musk claims, says Cali DMV after speaking to the software's boss UK government gives Automated Lane Keeping Systems the green light for use on motorways Semi-autonomous cars sales move up a gear with 3.5 million units leaving forecourts In simulation, Poltergeist showed a 100 per cent success rate for hiding, 87.9 percent for creating, and 95.1 percent for altering objects, when trialled against the YOLO V3/V4/V5 and Fast R-CNN object detection networks plus
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Something for the Weekend, Sir? How many websites do I have? Go on, take a guess. Well done! You might be correct… or perhaps not. Honestly, I have no idea. As the weeks slip into summer, a recurring half-yearly to-do item pops up in my calendar to remind me it's time to get out the digital pruning shears and cut back my online overgrowth. My calendar does that sort of thing. Other people's agenda apps are full of meetings and birthdays, or weekly prompts to upload another blatant virtue-signalling post to LinkedIn. If you use Calendly, you may notice it now also works as a subliminal aide memoire to take regular toilet breaks. The ease with which I can bash out one-off sites for one-off purposes tends to leave a trail of dead subdomains in my wake. They are always created with urgency for something that probably seemed really important at the time, then forgotten a week later. Every six months I force myself to sweep up the debris. And once a year, I consider condensing the various email addresses I have accumulated over the past 12 months into aliases or just delete them outright: most were created for one-off login IDs anyway, designed to be ditched immediately afterwards… something I always forget to do. Given how much of my valid incoming and outgoing email goes astray or direct-to-recipients'-spam these days, I may even look for a more reliable host with a better WHOIS reputation. I find the simple domain-shifting process stressful enough – Have I backed up everything? Will any messages get bounced? Are the servers really situated in Europe or is the host just cloning big boys in the US? – to keep putting it off. My calendar rem
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Last year, Taiwan was held up as a model example of how to control the pandemic. Now, with a rising case-count threatening the country’s vital tech industry in the middle of a global semiconductor shortage, its government is letting its powerful corporations buy COVID-19 vaccines on its behalf. It’s an unusual workaround, but one that makes sense given Taiwan’s complaints that China scuppered earlier deals. As reported by Nikkei Asia and Reuters, the Taiwanese government said on Friday that it would allow chipmaker TSMC and Terry Gou, billionaire founder of tech assembly giant Foxconn, to negotiate on its behalf with vaccine makers. Both TSMC and Gou (who will be working through his Yonglin Education Foundation) said they hope to buy around 5 million vaccines each from Germany’s BioNTech and donate them to the government. Whether or not this approach will succeed is unclear. “The government thinks that it may be easier for companies to reach out to vaccine makers or distributors to lower the geopolitical interference,” one source told Nikkei Asia. But Taiwan’s cabinet spokesman Lo Ping-cheng was more cautious, telling reporters: “Even if Mr. Gou can discuss this with the original manufacturer or an agent, can he get them to sell sufficient vaccines? Honestly, nobody knows.” TSMC and Foxconn are lynchpins of both global tech supply chains and Taiwan’s economy. Together, the firms account for more 30 percent of island’s stock exchange by market capit
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On Call You can never be sure who is on the other end of the on-call phone. It might be a minion... but sometimes it might be the master. Or maybe not. Today's story is another from Register reader Alessandro (not his name) and takes us back to the glory days before Microsoft Exchange, when Microsoft Mail was all the rage (sort of). Alessandro worked for a small European company beta testing Microsoft Mail. The team was ace at finding bugs in Microsoft's code, so much so that a member of the development team passed on his direct dial number so the gang could file issues directly, "bypassing the (painful) Microsoft system," explained Alessandro. Anyone subjected to the delight of Microsoft's current Feedback Hub might wonder if things have changed that much in the intervening decades. All went well for a few weeks, until the Microsoft developer told Alessandro that he would be taking a five-day vacation. To keep those issues flowing, he handed over the "hunt group" number for the entire Microsoft Mail development team. "Back in the '90s," Alessandro told us, "a 'hunt group number' was a special number that grouped a number of phone numbers." Call the number, and every phone on the development team would ring. The company name and problem could then be given to whoever picked up. "Oh, where are the days that devs could just talk to other company's devs instead of submitting 'issues' and 'tickets' without going through a web interface or (heaven forbid) a call centre..." he sighed. It was very late on a Friday night (Redmond time) that Alessandro, tiring of the latest bug, called for help. The phone rang. And rang. And rang some more. Eventually it was picked up and an unfamiliar but terse voice answered: "Microsoft, Redmond." We don't know why it's there, we don't know what it does – all we know is that the button makes everything OK again Today I shall explain how dual monitors work using the medium of interpretive dance The server is down, money is not being made, and you want me to fix what? Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes-Benz? Detroit waits for my order, you'd better make amends Alessandro was explaining his problem when he started to suspect that the listener was not on the Microsoft Mail team. He was, however, the last one left in the building. Probably some innocent on patrol who had picked up a ringing extension. "So what's it like to be a security guard for Microsoft? You must know all the big-shots, right?" joked Alessandro. The annoyed voice on the other end of the phone snapped back: "This is not security. I'm Bill Gates." Suspecting a wind-up, Alessandro laughed: "Sure, 'Mr Gates'. I understand and my apologies for having troubled you at this time. I'll call back on Monday and call it a night as it's 4am here now and I'm not thinking straight any more..." The following Monday, Alessandro called again and this time went straight through to a developer. He told the techie about the japery of Friday and the joker pretending to be Bill Gates. There was a pause. The developer checked the time of the call. Late on a Friday night. He checked the number. The hunt group. He c
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Cisco has announced industrial routers and internet gateways with baked in 5G as it tries to extend the enterprise network and SD-WAN to the edge. Three new modular routers run Cisco IOS XE and have built-in edge compute capabilities. The Catalyst IR1800 Rugged Series is for mobile and remote use cases, like the tricked out vehicles used by first responders or out on oil and gas pipelines. The shock and vibration resistant devices offer dead reckoning GPS, LTE, private LTE, 5G, Wi-Fi, CBRS, SSD, and advanced global navigation satellite system. FirstNet certification is in progress. The IR1800 series of heavy duty routers offer a slot for one or more cellular modems, plus PoE/PoE+, ADR GNSS slot, SSD slot, four digital I/O ports and one RS232/485 combo port. Catalyst IR8100 Heavy Duty Series, Click to enlarge The two models in the Catalyst IR8100 Heavy Duty Series are modular, made for outdoors and operates under extreme temperatures. The IP67-rated devices are undeterred by dust or water and include public and private LTE, 5G, Wi-SUN, and promise easy upgrades thanks to replaceable internals. Catalyst IR8300 Rugged Series Router, Click to enlarge The Catalyst IR8300 Rugged Series Router is designed for industrial environments with loads of in-house security products: Cisco TrustSec, Unified Threat Defense, and Cisco® Cyber Vision. The tech company is boasting that the IR8300 is their first product to have both Cisco QuantumFlow and Unified Access Data Plane Technologies. It’s also equipped with Cisco Edge Intelligence, 5G, and SD-WAN. The new IOT Gateway series is for use indoor and outdoor and comes with an Cisco’s own IoT Operations Dashboard. Network managers think you're coming back to the office. Why else did they go on a Wi-Fi 6 buying spree? Ethernet standards wonks eye up speeds beyond 400Gb/s Cisco suggests multi-SaaS integration and a hypervisor alternative as the path to happy hybrid clouds Cisco's play here is providing devices that use its familiar software, but capable of connecting over 5G. A reminder: 5G is designed to perform better in odd places than predecessor standards. Cisco is therefore making sure its networks can reach anywhere 5G can go, which helps it to stake a claim on the edge by showing customers they don't need to build special purpose networks that create complexity. “As organizations accelerate digitization, they need a way to simplify management and security across the network and edge devices,” says Cisco's announcement of the new range, which is already on sale. ®
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Spotify has acquired Podz, a startup whose technology generates preview clips of podcasts, the streaming service has announced. Unlike other services podcasters can use to manually create clips, TechCrunch says Podz automates the process of finding key moments from episodes using machine learning trained on over 100,000 hours of audio. The acquisition is aimed at improving podcast discovery, letting users browse short clips rather than 30-minute plus podcast episodes. Spotify says this will make it “easier for listeners to find the content they want to listen to, and for creators to be discovered and build a fan base.” Podz tells TechCrunch that users on its platform typically follow
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Facebook is rolling out its v30 update to the Oculus Quest and Quest 2 VR headsets. As previewed earlier this week by Mark Zuckerberg, v30 includes a new multitasking interface for Infinite Office that lets you put multiple apps side by side, including the browser, Oculus TV, Oculus Move, the store, and so on. Like many new Oculus Quest features, it’ll be found in the Experimental section of the settings menu at first. Once multitasking is enabled, apps can be dragged up from the menu bar or the apps library and snapped into position. The v30 update also enables Air Link for the original Quest headset. Air Link came to the Quest 2 in April and allows you to stream VR games from your PC
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