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The maker of a disallowed iOS app called Coronavirus Reporter has sued Apple claiming the iPhone overlord's refusal to approve the software violates America's antitrust law. In a complaint [PDF] filed in the District of New Hampshire on Tuesday, Keith Mathews, a lawyer with Associated Attorneys of New England, states that the plaintiff, identified as a Wyoming-based app maker operating under the name Coronavirus Reporter, submitted an app of the same name on March 3, 2020, seeking distribution approval. According to the court paperwork, the application was designed to allow people to declare they had symptoms of the COVID-19 virus, with the results aggregated on a map to illustrate the bio-nasty's spread. It was built before reliable Bluetooth-based contact-tracing had been devised, tested, and released. The filing claimed: Below a screenshot of this seemingly crowd-sourced pandemic-tracking iOS app, taken from the filing: Click to enlarge Three days after the software was submitted for approval, Apple is said to have rejected the app based on a rule revision declaring that the iGiant will only accept coronavirus apps from "recognized institutions such as government, hospital, insurance company, NGO, or a university." Apple published a notice of the rule change on March 14, 2020, citing the need to present credible health and safety information. Coronavirus Reporter appealed but Apple is said to have denied the appeal on March 26, 2020. "Apple alleged that Coronavirus Reporter was not a recognized healthcare company," the complaint says. "Additionally, Apple stated that the 'user-generated data has not been vetted for accuracy by a reputable source.' In other words, Apple told Plaintiff a self-reported symptoms model was not acceptable for the pandemic." COVID-19 tracing without an app? There's an iOS and Android update for that READ MORE On Apple's developer forums, other iOS devs have griped about the mega-corp's refusal to accept coronavirus-related apps from developers not affiliated with approved organizations. The court filing stated that Apple subsequently allowed several employees at a teaching hospital in London, England, to distribute a coronavirus app that functioned in a way nearly identical to Coronavirus Reporter. "That competing app obtained the so-called first player advantage, and is used by five million individuals daily," the legal filing laments, and goes on to disparage the performance of Apple's own contact-tracing software, released later that summer. It also takes a shot at Apple's June 2020 announcement that it would allow developers to challenge App Store rules. That policy change, widely seen as an attempt to mollify antitrust regulators, was "a sham," the complaint argues. In 2019, the US Supreme Court ruled in Apple v. Pepper that consumers have the right to sue Apple for monopolizing the sale of apps
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In one of his first actions in office, President Joe Biden issued an executive order on a broad range of environmental protections that included stopping construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. This is the second time a president has pumped the brakes on the embattled pipeline. Barack Obama denied a permit for the project in 2015. Then in 2017, Donald Trump reversed that decision and issued a permit. The order directed federal agencies to review environmental rollbacks made under the Trump Administration, according to the Huffington Post and The New York Times. That includes revisiting f
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Tim Apple, as Trump once called him, didn’t just give Donald Trump the opportunity to lie about bringing an Apple factory to the United States. He also gave him a $5,999 Mac Pro, according to Donald Trump’s final financial disclosure report today (via the NY Times’ David Enrich). The computer is described as the very first Mac Pro produced at the Flex Factory in Austin, Texas. That’s also a lie: that factory has actually been producing Mac Pros since 2013. Either way, $5,999 would actually make it the least expensive version of the 2020 Mac Pro the company currently sells... with
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If you want a Metroid Lego set, you have the power to bring the idea closer to reality. User L-DI-EGO has submitted a design on Lego’s Ideas website that brings the block treatment to Samus and her gunship, but the site requires votes to get this concept in front of Lego itself (via Nintendo Life). Lego Ideas is an official site for users to submit their concepts and designs for the Lego company to consider, and where Lego fans can vote for their favorites. If a submission gets 10,000 votes, the Lego Group may turn it into a real product. Right now the Metroid concept has around 5,700 votes, so it’s just over halfway. If you like the concept, you can go to the website to put your thumb on the scale. Image: L-DI-EGO on Lego Ideas Image: L-DI-EGO on Lego Ideas It’s worth noting, however, that many of the submissions that do get 10,000 votes don’t actually end up hitting store shelves. The program has been running since 2008, and only 33 sets have made it to production so far. Lego only guarantees that it’ll look at the idea, but usually fans will end up waiting to hear back from the company only to get a rejection. That isn’t to say it’s impossible. Lego has a page listing some of the Ideas that you can buy today. The list includes the truly awesome 1969-piece Saturn V rocket, and we’ve written about a Doctor Who set that started out as an Idea. Space ideas really seem to speak to Lego, as nearly a quarter of the sets produced (if you count WALL-E and Doctor Who) have been space-themed. This includes a Women of NASA kit and a recreation of the International Space Station. Maybe that’s a good sign, since Metroid is set in space? You wouldn’t see anything like this on Earth. Image: L-DI-EGO on Lego Ideas What would the official version of this look like? Still cool, I bet. Image: L-DI-EGO on Lego Ideas Despite the space examples, the program doesn’t operate at war
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Analysis Ajit Pai has left his position as head of the FCC – America's communications regulator – marking the end of an extraordinary four years where telecoms policy was dragged into the era of alternate facts. With sad inevitability, Pai has a list of his accomplishments in a similar fashion. Just as he had done during his tenure, however, Pai has mirrored the 45th president’s approach and, rather than give an overview of actions to show a coherent drive and philosophy, has created the longest list possible. Bigger is better. And so we have a 19-page document with 134 bullet points, many with sub-points. The end result is a mixture of tedium and propaganda with seemingly every program the FCC runs religiously inscribed, and the most controversial decisions whitewashed with tangential facts or ideological zeal. As just one example, Pai’s unforgivably weak response to a devastating hurricane in Puerto Rico – something that mirrored President Trump’s own bizarre response that many have attributed to racism – is ignored. Instead the list heralds how the FCC awarded the island $127m “to expand, improve, and harden broadband networks,” and notes how Pai visited the island not once, but twice. Pai fails to note the extensive, and justified, criticism leveled at him by his own commissioners, the Government Accountability Office, the press, and Puerto Ricans for doing too little, too late. He also refused a review into the FCC’s response: something that is a standard approach used to help the organization learn from mistakes. Had it been run, the review might have queried why normal protocols weren’t followed. The fact he prevented such a probe reveals a darker truth: that Pai’s actions, or lack of them, were not the result of incompetence. Net neutrality Pai will, of course, be most closely associated with the reversal of net neutrality rules. Not only did he undercut the FCC’s own rulings made just two years earlier but he pushed through a predetermined outcome, often with almost comic pretense to running a proper policy process. The FCC not only failed to fix its flawed public comment process and systems but worked to make it more dysfunctional in order to disguise the true depth of feeling against the decision. It allowed organizations to upload hundreds of thousands of responses in one file, knowing from experience that it would be used to flood the comment period with fake comments. The cable industry promptly did exactly that. Later, Pai claimed, wrongly, that the FCC had been hit with a DDoS attack. Pai also actively muddied the policy waters to disguise the fact that the only group that approved of reversing net neutrality protections were the cable giants that stood to gain most from it, along with the various think-tanks and lawmakers that the industry heavily supports. So bye-bye, Mr Ajit Pai. You drove our policy into the levee and we still wonder why READ MORE
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Crypto crackdown? — Yellen argues many cryptocurrencies are used "mainly for illicit financing." Enlarge / Janet Yellen, Joe Biden's nominee to be Secretary of the Treasury, at a December press conference.Cryptocurrencies could come under renewed regulatory attack over the next four years if Janet Yellen, Joe Biden's pick to lead the Treasury Department, gets her way. During Yellen's Tuesday confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) asked Yellen about the use of cryptocurrency by terrorists and other criminals. "Cryptocurrencies are a particular concern," Yellen responded. "I think many are used—at least in a transactions sense—mainly for illicit financing." She said she wanted to "examine ways in which we can curtail their use and make sure that [money laundering] doesn't occur through those channels." Blockchain-based financial networks are attractive to criminals because they do not require users to identify themselves—as the law requires most conventional financial networks to do. Because no individual or organization controls these networks, there's no easy way for governments to force them to comply with money laundering laws. So instead of trying to force the networks themselves to comply, regulators in the US—and many other jurisdictions—have focused on regulating bitcoin exchanges that help users trade between dollars and cryptocurrencies. Once a bitcoin exchange identifies who initially received a particular bitcoin payment, law enforcement can often trace subsequent payments through a blockchain network's open payment ledger. FinCEN In December, Trump's outgoing team at the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network—a unit of the Treasury Department focused on money laundering—proposed a new set of rules to tighten the screws on cryptocurrency-based money laundering. Under the new rules, cryptocurrency-based exchanges would need to file transaction reports with FinCEN any time a customer made a cryptocurrency transaction worth more than $10,000. This would mirror existing rules requiring conventional banks to report when customers make cash withdrawals or deposits worth more than $10,000. Even more controversial in the cryptocurrency world, FinCEN wants to impose new record-keeping requirements for transactions involving users who manage their own private keys—dubbed "unhosted wallets" by FinCEN. Under FinCEN's proposal, if a cryptocurrency exchange's customer sends more than $3,000 to an unhosted wallet, the exchange would be required to keep a record of the transaction, including the identity of the customer who initiated the payment. These new rules didn't take effect before Trump left office, so the incoming Biden team will need to decide what to do with them. The Biden administration could sign off on the existing rules, rewrite them, or scrap them altogether. Yellen's Tuesday comments suggest that she is unlikely to scrap the rules. If anyt
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Among Us was one of the smash hits of 2020 — it reportedly had nearly half a billion players in November — and there are some exciting updates announced for the game, including a new airship map and an account system. In a blog posted yesterday, developer Innersloth discussed how it has adapted in response to the game’s enormous popularity and why new features are taking a while to be released. “Among Us gained incredible traction pretty late into 2020 that we weren’t expecting, and that meant A LOT of change for us,” the developers said. Innersloth, which is comprised of just four employees, had to spend two months restructuring, figuring out processes, and working with new e
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In one of his first acts as president, Joe Biden walked back the former administration’s plan to withdraw the United States from the World Health Organization. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will participate in the organization’s executive meeting this week, according to a fact sheet released by the Biden-Harris transition team. Donald Trump announced plans to cut ties with the WHO in late May, claiming that China had “total control” over the global health organization. Experts widely criticized the move, saying that it would be catastrophic for public health in the midst of a deadly pandemic. The US is a major funder for the
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President Joe Biden recommitted the US to the Paris climate accord during his first day in office, fulfilling one of his earliest campaign promises. In 30 days, the US will once again be part of the global accord. Rejoining the agreement is as easy as sending a letter to the secretary-general of the United Nations. What comes after that will be much harder. The US turned its back on efforts to tackle the climate crisis together as a planet when Donald Trump made the decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement. Trump decimated federal efforts to slash emissions within the US, and he stood by other right-wing leaders — like Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, who similarly dismantled environme
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Hours after taking his oath of office on Wednesday, President Joe Biden signed several executive orders overturning actions taken by the Trump administration regarding immigration, and tech is rallying behind the move. Biden signed two executive orders Wednesday that extend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program for another four years and overturn the Trump administration’s travel bans on largely Muslim-majority countries. It’s just the start of the Biden administration’s immigration reform efforts. The administration also plans to drop a new bill that would provide 11 million undocumented immigrants with a pathway to citizenship and an eight-year waiting period before t
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Meta-bits — A mix of actuator and bit-level memory. For applications like robotics, there's usually a clear division of labor between the processors that control the robot's body and the actuators that actually control the physical changes of that body. But a new paper being released today blurs the lines between the two, using a magnetic switch in a way that both stores a bit representing the hardware's state and alters the physical conformation of the hardware. In essence, it merges memory and physical changes. This particular implementation doesn't seem to b
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On Tuesday, during his last full day as US President, Donald Trump issued an executive order seeking to curtail cyber attacks by directing the government to come up with rules requiring cloud service providers to better identify foreign customers. It now falls to the incoming Biden administration to implement the order, which may end up simply being ignored, given the recent flood of executive orders. The "executive order on Taking Additional Steps to Address the National Emergency with Respect to Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities" calls for the US Secretary of Commerce to propose rules to "require United States
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Our desperate plea for a Muppets adaptation of The Great Gatsby has been answered: documentary filmmaker Ben Crew has taken the public domain novel and turned it into a downloadable 104-page fan-made script that marries Muppet antics with existential angst. My request for an adaptation may have been ridiculous, but this script seriously vindicates me. Crew’s script, “Muppets Present ‘The Great Gatsby,’” may be a silly mashup of a novel you’re forced to read in high school and a puppet comedy variety show, but he said it became a meaningful project when January’s news cycle became too much to bear. “I knew that there was nothing I could do about what was happening in D.C. and that if I didn’t distract myself I was just going to waste away in front of the news again,” Crew wrote in an email to The Verge. “That’s when I dedicated myself to writing this script.” A mockup of the Muppet adaptations poster. Image: Benjamin Crew The final product is a script that plays to a lot of the Muppets’ strengths, while tossing in some fun additions original to Crew. Miss Piggy does karate, Gonzo and Fozzie Bear break the fourth wall frequently, and Kermit... well, Kermit is as exactly as good-natured as we expect. Since every good Muppets movie needs human characters, Crew imagines casting Tom Holland as narrator Nick Carraway and Taron Egerton as the abusive Tom Buchanan. The script also leans frequently into the meta-humor The Muppets is known for and, of course, features plenty of musical numbers. Crew pulled on his knowledge of The Muppets to write the script, which he says he built over years, bonding with his older brother over VHS tapes of The Muppet Show. That personal connection and a belief that there’s something genuinely, morally good about the characters made the script feel like an antidote to the anxiety that was ailing Crew. And based on the positive responses to his Reddit post sharing the script, it helped others, too. You can read an excerpt from the full script below: NICK CARRAWAY (CONT’D) I won
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lots of f's in the chat today — Video-streaming account launched in 2019, faced first suspension in 2020. Enlarge / Photo illustration of the Twitch logo on a smartphone.On Wednesday, an automated alert about Twitch account bans included a somewhat surprising account name: "@DonaldTrump." The surprise came because Twitch had already "indefinitely suspended" the former president's official Twitch channel on January 7 in the wake of his January 6 speech inciting a seditious riot at the US Capitol. Following this Wednesday alert, Twitch confirmed to Ars Technica that this was no accident: Trump's account is indeed outright banned. Twitch continues to call the ban an "indefinite suspension," but it has not offered any timeline for its return or steps that its account holders (either Trump himself or any representatives) may take to reverse the decision. Wednesday's news lines up with a Tuesday claim by DW News reporter Dana Regev, who had hinted at Twitch waiting until after President Joe Biden's inauguration to make a firmer ruling on the previous ban. The service took the rare step of outlining the exact reason for the ban, a courtesy generally not r
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LG Electronics is reportedly considering leaving the smartphone business this year, according to a leaked internal memo issued by CEO Kwon Bong-seok. Writing to staffers, Kwon said the future of LG's mobile business remained uncertain, but promised any decision would not result in any redundancies. "Regardless of any change in the direction of the smartphone business operation, the employment will be maintained, so there is no need to worry," he said. An LG representative subsequently told The Korea Herald it was examining all possible opportunities, including selling, downsizing, or dismantling its mobile business. "Since the competition in the global market for mobile devices is getting fiercer, it is about time for LG to make a cold judgment and the best choice," they said. This is a reversal for Kwon, who had previously reiterated his commitment to LG's mobile business and promised a return to profitability in 2021 following 14 consecutive loss-making quarters. At 2020's CES event, the company chief said LG's revival would be driven by phones with "wow factors to woo consumers". Fate had different plans. Two months after Kwon promised LG's revival, the world was under lockdown to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mobile sales cratered. Supply chains experienced unprecedented disruption. The entire phone industry suffered. LG managed to release one "wow-factor" phone last year, the dual-screen LG Wing 5G in October - a cheaper alternative to rival foldable phones. Flicking the phone's corner would prompt the primary display to rotate into a landscape orientation, while exposing a secondary screen for other apps. This handset, although gimmicky and lacking third-party app support, was generally well received by reviewers. Sadly, one phone cannot reverse several years of straight decline, which has no doubt been exacerbated by the rise of China's Xiaomi and BBK Electronics. LG was one of the earliest Android adopters, wading into the sphere in late 2009 with the snappily named
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logistics — A huge number of Amazon's own 800,000 employees are considered essential workers. Enlarge / An Amazon warehouse on a sunny day in Germany on April 2, 2020. Amazon is one of the country's largest businesses—and despite its faults and flaws, the company overall excels at logistics and distribution at scale. Therefore, Amazon suggests, the brand-new Biden administration should give the company a call to help ramp up COVID-19 distribution nationwide. "Amazon stands ready to assist you in reaching your goal of vaccinating 100 million Americans in the first 100 days of your administration," Dave Clark, the head of Amazon's consumer business, wrote in a letter (PDF) to President Joe Biden Wednesday. Amazon's more than 800,000 employees should be in the vaccine queue as soon as possible, Clark noted, as individuals working in Amazon warehouses, AWS data centers, and Whole Foods stores are essential workers who cannot work from home. The company has inked a deal with a third-party health care firm to administer vaccines on-site at Amazon-owned facilities, Clark added—if they could just get vaccines to administer. "We are prepared to move quickly once vaccines are available," Clark wrote. "Additionally, we are prepared to leverage our operations, information technology, and communications capabilities and expertise to assist your administration's vaccination efforts. Our scale allows us to make a meaningful impact immediately in the fight against COVID-19, and we stand ready to assist you in this effort." “A dismal failure” There are two COVID-19 vaccines currently approved for use in the United States: one from Pfizer/BoiNTech and one from Moderna. Federal regulators granted permission for both to be distributed and used in mid-December, more than a month ago, but the rollout has been rocky, to say the least. A week after the Pfizer vaccine became available, state leaders complained that they were not receiving the doses
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Firefighter Andrea Hall put accessible communication front and center at the presidential inauguration today when she led the Pledge of Allegiance in both spoken English and Signed English. The inaugural committee also hosted several separate accessible live streams of the event on its YouTube page, including one with audio description, one with live captions and American Sign Language interpretation, and one with Cued Speech transliteration (the use of hand shapes to signal speech sounds). But despite those efforts, many deaf and hard of hearing viewers still found the inauguration inaccessible. Most broadcast stations didn’t have an ASL interpreter on-screen and used automated captions, which are notoriously inaccurate. In what some saw as a particularly frustrating move, several li
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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. JBL’s Google Assistant-powered smart display, the Link View, is on sale for $80 on Harman Audio’s (JBL’s parent company) eBay store. While its original price was $300, this smart display has been slowly getting cheaper since it debuted in 2018. Both the black and white color variants are on sale, and it comes with free standard shipping. The JBL Link View smart display features an 8-inch touchscreen display with a webcam built into the device
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Twitch has “indefinitely” banned former President Donald Trump from its platform. The action comes two weeks after the site disabled Trump’s account, preventing him from streaming but leaving the account page live, in light of the mob attack on the Capitol. At the time, a company spokesperson told a Verge reporter that it would reassess his account after he left office — which happened today. “We have indefinitely suspended President Trump’s Twitch channel due to the ongoing risk of further incitement of violence,” a Twitch spokesperson wrote in an email to The Verge. The President’s statements continue to be interpreted as calls to action, and we are taking this action to remove the potential for harm to our community and the general public. Twitch has clear rules that prohibit hateful conduct, harassment, or incitement of violence on our service, and we consider off-service events when making enforcement decisions. However, the events of the past weeks have highlighted a gap with respect to rhetoric that encourages violence, regardless of whether or not it was directly streamed on Twitch. We will be updating our policies as a result of our consideration of th
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Red Hat, which is killing CentOS Linux in favour of CentOS Stream, will extend its developer subscription to allow free production use of RHEL for up to 16 systems. CentOS Linux is a community build of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and therefore suitable for production use. CentOS Stream, which will remain available, is a preview build of what is likely to be in RHEL – great for testing but not ideal for production use. The popularity of CentOS, which drives 17.7 per cent of Linux-based web sites, according to W3Techs, has meant a strong response to Red Hat's decision, including alternative free builds such as Rocky Linux and Project Lenix, which is now known as Alma Linux. Red Hat said in December that it would work to plug the gap left by CentOS with new ways to license RHEL and today's statement is said to be "the first of many new programs." Red Hat defends its CentOS decision, claims Stream version can cover '95% of current user workloads' READ MORE The big change is that the free developer subscription "can be used in production for up to 16 systems". This represents a major change to the current developer programme, which states that "the no-cost Red Hat Developer Subscription is only for development purposes and may not be used in production." The wording of the new terms is not yet available, however. "The T&C’s won’t be available to view until the program launch on February 1st," a spokesperson for Red Hat told The Reg. Red Hat said that it "isn't a sales program" and that this up
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take it all in — This is quite literally Sonic like you've never seen him before. The intertwining paths of Chemical Plant Zone are a thing of beauty at this scale. Casino Night Zone looks a bit repetitive when you zoom out. Sega Break out the magnifying glass to find Sonic in Hilltop Zone. Sega The maze-like Metropolis Zone is easier to navigate when you can see this much at once.
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Today’s US presidential inauguration brought many good things, but the thing Twitter seems most excited about is a new crop of Bernie memes. The meme started with a wire photo of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), sitting on a folding chair watching President Joe Biden’s inauguration. The temperature in Washington, DC was in the 40s, so he’s bundled up with a coat and mittens, and he’s sitting socially distanced from everyone else, as his age and prior health issues put him at severe risk for COVID-19. Something about Sanders’ chilly body language, his oversized wool mittens, and the fac
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MORE FALLOUT — Group backed by a nation-state rifles through company's email servers. Security firm Malwarebytes said it was breached by the same nation-state-sponsored hackers who compromised a dozen or more US government agencies and private companies. The attackers are best known for first hacking into Austin, Texas-based SolarWinds, compromising its software-distribution system and using it to infect the networks of customers who used SolarWinds’ network ma
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Amazon has offered to help the Biden administration meet its goal of completing 100 million coronavirus vaccinations within the next 100 days. “Our scale allows us to make a meaningful impact immediately in the fight against COVID-19, and we stand ready to assist you in this effort,” Dave Clark, Amazon’s worldwide operations leader, wrote in a letter to the administration. The company’s main interest appears to be in offering vaccinations through its own facilities. Clark writes that Amazon has “an agreement in place” with a health care provider to administer vaccinations on sit
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Goodbye to Pai — Pai's last report keeps 6-year-old broadband standard and gives ISPs high marks. Enlarge / FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says goodbye to members of a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee afters testifying during a hearing on June 16, 2020, in Washington, DC.In one of his last acts as Federal Communications Commission chairman, Ajit Pai decided to stick with the FCC's 6-year-old broadband standard of 25Mbps download and 3Mbps upload speeds. The decision was announced yesterday in the FCC's annual broadband-deployment report, released one day before Pai's departure from the FCC. As in all previous years of Pai's chairmanship, the report concludes that th
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At 12PM ET today, Jim Bridenstine officially stepped down from his role as NASA administrator. During his time at the agency, the former Oklahoma congressman and Naval aviator used his political chops to drum up bipartisan support for the Trump administration’s Artemis program, the agency’s cornerstone initiative to land humans on the Moon by 2024 — a deadline widely viewed as nearly impossible to meet. In anticipation of President Joe Biden taking office and the Senate transitioning to Democratic control, Bridenstine, a Republican, spent his final days as administrator making one last push for the Artemis program, a parting bid to insulate the program from potential cancellation. Last week, he met with top Democrats including Sen. Patrick Leahy, who’s expected to become the sec
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The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has rejected a petition seeking to block Ligado Networks from deploying its LightSquared nationwide 5G network. The petition – which was rejected by a three-to-two majority – was filed by the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) on behalf of the Defense and Transportation departments, and largely repeats previous concerns about Ligado's proposed use of L-band spectrum. The term "L-Band" refers to the spectrum between 1GHz and 2GHz. Ligado has proposed using parts of this spectrum as the basis of a low-power terrestrial 5G network primarily serving far-flung IoT devices, particularly those in areas where a stable fixed-li
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Volkswagen Group boss Herbert Diess joined twitter Wednesday, and his first tweet was a light trolling of Tesla CEO Elon Musk. “Hello @Twitter! I’m here to make an impact with @VWGroup, especially on political issues,” Diess wrote. “And, of course, to get some of your market shares, @elonmusk – after all, our ID.3 and e-tron have won the first markets in Europe. Looking forward to productive discussions!” Diess — who last year settled criminal charges related to his role in the Dieselgate emissions scandal — was referencing how the first mass-market electric vehicles of its VW and Audi brands performed well in Europe (and especially in Germany) in their debut year, causing Tesla to lose market share on the continent. (To wit, while writing this, Tesla dropped prices on
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On his last day in office, US president Donald Trump has issued 143 pardons – including one for Anthony Levandowski who admitted stealing trade secrets from Waymo while a self-driving car researcher. Breitbart founder and one-time Cambridge Analytica board member Steve Bannon was also among those receiving clemency over fraud charges regarding a fundraiser for Trump's infamous border wall, as were some rappers. In August last year, Levandowski, an engineer in Google's self-driving Waymo division from 2007 to 2016, pleaded guilty to stealing trade secrets and was sent down for 18 months. He was also ordered to pay Google $756,499.22 in compensation and a fine of $95,000. He had resigned from Google to c
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The official website of the White House, WhiteHouse.gov, has been completely replaced with a new version for the Biden administration, and it comes with some unexpected accessibility features: a high contrast mode, which serves as a dark mode, and a toggle to make the font size larger. Both options show up along the left rail as big, easy-to-click or tap buttons, and that’s the way you’ll need to toggle them. Even if your device has a system-wide dark mode, the White House website won’t switch over automatically. That’s because it’s really there to serve as an accessibility feature, meant to help anyone who would have trouble reading or looking at a bright white screen with black text. With dark mode being very popular among heavy computer users as well, people online were un
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Who will make our banana phones now? — LG says it needs to make "a cold judgment" about its only money-losing division. The LG Velvet is LG's closest thing to a normal flagship right now. With only a non-flagship Snapdragon 765G SoC, the company has opted out of the flagship market. LG
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SpaceX has landed an individual Falcon 9 booster for a record eighth time after pushing the envelope on winds above the waiting drone ship. The launch had been delayed from 18 January due to what the company called "unfavorable weather conditions in the recovery area". There was a further delay on 19 January "to allow additional time for pre-launch inspections" before Elon Musk's band of rocketeers lit the blue touchpaper and stood well back earlier today. The first Starlink mission of 2021 left Kennedy Space Center's LC39-A at 1302 UTC. The veteran booster had previously flown on seven other missions, most recently SXM-7 in December. As well as multiple Starlink launches, the Falcon 9 first stage had also seen action in Ma
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Webcast What’s your tech infrastructure going to look like in the next few months or years? You know, once we get past the current situation and find time to start innovating again. All of which may come sooner than you think. Your devs are probably going to be experimenting with analytics, machine learning and AI. Data will be coming at you from all directions, from customers to edge devices. And much, if not all, of this is probably going to happening in the cloud. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it. And you’re not the only one interested. Bad actors are going to be interested too, and would like to exfiltrate as much of your sweet, sweet data as they can. Or, alternatively, encrypt the lot, until you hand over a fat ra
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Streaming services are slowly turning into cable TV — complete with bundles, an ever-growing list of channels, and a reinvented TV guide. And a series of lawsuits could portend the return of something even worse: the hidden cable fee. Three municipalities in Georgia are suing Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming video providers for as much as 5 percent of their gross revenue in the district — joining a nationwide group of towns and counties that want these services regulated more like cable TV. It’s a small but growing front in the war over cord-cutting, challenging regulators to decide which matters more: the increasing role streaming services play in American media diets or their significant practical differences from traditional TV. The federal lawsuit, reported earlier this mon
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Star Trek and stuff — The service combines CBS, MTV, BET, Paramount, Nickelodeon, and more. Enlarge / Star Trek: Picard will be offered on the new/old streaming service.It's time for yet another streaming service—sort of. ViacomCBS has announced that Paramount+ will launch on March 4, but it's more of an evolution than a wholly new service, as it replaces and expands upon the company's previous service, CBS All Access. The move to replace CBS All Access was announced several months ago. It's in large part a result of the completion of the merger between CBS and Viacom, as CBS All Access launched before that merger, but the merger greatly increased the conte
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OVHcloud has introduced tape-storage-as-a-service, based on IBM technology, in response to European data sovereignty and localisation requirements. The company, which is among Europe's biggest hosting firms, has kicked off with four dedicated facilities, all located in France but, for disaster recovery purposes, sited several hundred kilometres apart. Sylvain Rouri, chief sales officer, said the "reliable and sovereign data preservation solution" will deliver a secure and trusted cloud for European customers. Mike Doran, worldwide sales director at IBM, said the deal with OVH was "another proof point of the enduring value that IBM Enterprise Tape provides to organisations as they look to cost effectively and securely store
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Get out of jail free — Peter Thiel, Palmer Luckey, and others asked Trump to pardon Levandowski. Enlarge / Anthony Levandowski exits federal court in San Jose, California, on August 27, 2019.David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesOn his final full day in office, Donald Trump pardoned Anthony Levandowski, the engineer at the center of Waymo's epic 2017 trade secret battle with Uber. Last year, Levandowski pleaded guilty to stealing a single confidential Google document; prosecutors agreed to drop other pending charges against him. Levandowski was a key early member of Google's self-driving car project, but he quit Google in early 2016 to found his own self-driving startup. Within months, the startup was acquired by Uber for a nine-figure sum, and Levandowski was put in charge of Uber's self-driving efforts. But then, Google's self-driving unit—now known as Waymo—accused Levandowski of stealing trade secrets. According to Waymo, Levandowski had downloaded thousands of confidential documents from Google in his final days as a Google employee. Waymo says it was tipped off to the theft after Uber submitted a design for a lidar circuit board to a third-party vendor—a vendor also used by Waymo. Uber's design looked almost identical to Waymo's. Waymo sued Uber over the theft. When Levandowski invoked the Fifth Amendment rather than testify in the civil case, Uber fired him. Waymo and Uber settled their lawsuit in early 2018. Levandowski w
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Netflix’s Shuffle Play feature, which the company was spotted testing last year, is getting a widespread launch in the first half of 2021. Variety reports the company made the announcement as part of its latest financial results. In its testing phase, Shuffle Play has worked by picking content based on your viewing history, helping you avoid feeling overwhelmed by Netflix’s home screen full of content. Netflix’s COO and chief product officer Greg Peters said the feature is designed for users to “indicate to us that they just want to skip browsing entirely, click one button and we’ll pick a title for them just to instantly play.” During its tests of the feature, Netflix has experimented with including a “Shuffle Play” button on its profile select screen, and a “Play Something” option in its menu. Here’s how that ended up looking: Photo by Julia Alexander / The Verge The big question now is what Netflix will end up calling the feature. During its earnings presentation, co-CEO Reed Hastings joked that they might call it “I’m Feeling Lucky,” after the Google search feature that skips straight to the top search result. But Peters quickly shot down that idea. “We’re going to come up with something better than that, so stand by for this. You’ll see it when it rolls out,” Peters said. Whatever it ends up being called, Shuffle Play will join Netflix’s other recent attempt to make it easier to find content to watch. Last year, it added a “New & Popular” tab to the service, which features a combination of new, popular, and up
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The second half of 2020 brought improved 5G availability in the UK with London seeing some of the biggest gains, according to research by RootMetrics. Predictably, the network with the highest 5G availability was EE, which had next-gen connectivity present during 39.9 per cent of RootMetrics' tests in the capital, compared to 28.8 per cent in the first half of the year. Although far from widely available, this growth was an improvement in a relatively short amount of time. Still, EE has an advantage as the first UK carrier to launch a commercial 5G service – it's easier to maintain a lead when you've had a head start. The other three main carriers, O2, Three, and Vodafone each flashed better figures over the first half of the year too, as one might expect. O2 ended H1 2020 as the worst carrier for 5G in the capital with just 0.3 per cent availability. By the end of last year, it remained firmly in last place but had upped its game to offer 5G access in 6.6 per cent of all tests. Three almost tripled its 5G penetration to 16.8 per cent and Vodafone's coverage nearly doubled, reaching 9.7 per cent of test sites. In terms of speed, each carrier outperformed their own 4G networks by a country mile, although 5G speeds varied between the bunch. Three was the slowest, reporting median download speeds of 114.7Mpbs. EE and O2 were slightly ahead, with speeds of 136.8Mbps and 145Mbps respectively. Vodafone trounced the competition, however, with RootMetrics finding median 5G speeds of 216.6Mpbs in London. Separately, it also demonstrated the fastest maximum speeds, hitting 545.6Mpbs in one network test. There was also good news for those living outside London too. The data shows improved 5G presence in 16 of the largest UK cities. Those with a penchant for cheap beer, affordable housing, whippets, and pit ponies would be glad to know that all carriers made inroads into provincial Britain in the second half of 2020 (Your correspondant is a northener). O2 aga
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Not quite total recall — Studies are small so far, but they're pointing to decent long-term immune responses. Enlarge / The immune response involves a lot of moving parts.There's still a lot of uncertainty about how exactly the immune system responds to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. But what's become clear is that re-infections are still very rare, despite an ever-growing population of people who were exposed in the early days of the pandemic. This suggests that, at least for most people, there is a degree of long-term memory in the immune response to the virus. But immune memory is complicated and involves a number of distinct immune features. It would be nice to know which ones are engaged by SARS-CoV-2, since that would allow us to better judge the protection offered by vaccines and prior infections, and to better understand whether the memory is at risk of fading. The earliest studies of this sort all involved very small populations, but there are now a couple that have unearthed reasons for optimism, suggesting that immunity will last at least a year, and perhaps longer. But the picture still isn't as simple as we might like. Only a m
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pink looks good — At almost $20,000 less than an entry-level 911, it seems like a bargain. As we expected, Porsche has introduced a single-motor, rear-wheel drive version of the Taycan electric vehicle to its lineup. Porsche At $79,900 before tax credits or incentives, it's nearly $24,000 cheaper than the Taycan 4S, which has two motors and all-wheel drive. Porsche Part of that cost savings included making air suspension an option; if you stick with conventional adaptive dampers and springs, the drag coefficient increases by 0.02—a small price to pay for saving all that money. Porsche The view from the driver's seat is still the same, with a big glass display that looks better than those in almost every other car I've driven in the last 18 months. Porsche
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The pandemic has been kind to Logitech, whose profits have almost quadrupled from what they were a year ago. Revenues for the peripheral maker's Q3 ended 31 December show a jump of 85 per cent year-on-year to $1.67bn and profit came in at $448m versus $129m. For the nine months of fiscal '21, sales were up 64 per cent $3.716bn and profit grew 205 per cent to $721.5m. On a conference call with financial analysts, Logitech CEO Bracken Darrell said: "Last quarter, we predicted that as the world opened up, few companies would opt for a full work from home or a full work from the office approach. With another quarter behind us, I have greater conviction that most companies will move to a hybrid at work/at home model." So what did well for Logitech in the quarter? Nearly every area of its portfolio reported double or triple-digit growth from a year ago: Gaming was up 78 per cent to $436m; video collaboration was up 218 per cent to $293m; and keyboards and combos jumped 40 per cent to $218m. Other notable movers included pointing devices, up 38 per cent to $214m; PC webcams, up 309 per cent to $132m; and tablet and other accessories, up 342 per cent to $138m. You get the message. The only units to falter were mobile speaker and smart home. Logitech's chief bean counter, Nate Olmstead, said the company recorded its best quarterly for inventory, leading to cash conversion cycles of 15 days. Basically, the company is selling stuff at unprecedented speeds. One consequence of this is that webcam shortages persist for both consumers and enterprise customers. "We also have some shortages in microphones, a few other places," said Darrell. "In terms of when we think we come out of it, I'm almost embarrassed to predict that now. I think I've predicted every quarter, we're going to be out of it in a quarter two, and I've been wrong. The demand has been stronger than we thought in each case." Manufacturing capacity is being expanded but a dearth of components is causing a shortfall in av
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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. Last October, Lenovo unveiled its new Google Assistant-powered alarm clock, the Smart Clock Essential. At just $50, the Lenovo Smart Clock Essential is slightly smarter than your average bedside clock. Not only does it display time, weather conditions,
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Rally — In wide-ranging interview, she also cautioned not to panic over coronavirus variants. Enlarge / Dr. Rochelle Walensky, President-elect Joe Biden’s pick to head the Centers for Disease Control.Midday today, January 20, Dr. Rochelle Walensky will take over as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—and one of her top priorities will be to try to undo all the harms done to the agency by the Trump administration. “How is it that I mak
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Security company Malwarebytes suspects a breach of its Office 365 and Azure tenancies is by the same attacker behind the SolarWinds hack, but reckons flaws in Azure Active Directory security are also to blame. Malwarebytes, whose products include widely used anti-malware tools for consumers and businesses, said that it does not use SolarWinds but believes that the same attacker used "another intrusion vector that works by abusing applications with privileged access to Microsoft Office 365 and Azure environments". The attack was spotted because of suspicious activity reported by Microsoft's Security Response Center. The intruder "only gained access to a limited subset of internal company emails" said Malwarebytes, and there was no evidence of unauthorised access to internal or on-premises and production environments. Malwarebytes also checked its source code and build processes including "reverse engineering our own software" but could not find any evidence of compromise, concluding that "our software remains safe to use." I don't really see why credentials can be assigned to default service principals this way and what a possible legitimate purpose would be of this How was Malwarebytes breached? There is some but not complete information on this subject in the company's report. On Microsoft's cloud, there are directory objects called service principals which can have privileges assigned to them. Service principals are specific to an Azure AD tenancy and represent an application in that tenancy. When admins give permission to an application, they actually give permissions to its service principal. Users are not the same as applications, but there are techniques by which a user can log in as an application. To do this, admins can assign a password or a certificate to a service principal, and then log in as that service principal, thereby gaining the same privileges as the application. Security researcher Dirk-jan Mollema considers this to be a vulnerability since it allows application administrators to escalate their privileges. "I don't really see why credentials can be assigned to default service principals this way and what a possible legitimate purpose would b
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If you buy something from a Verge link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement. There are two reasons to buy the ExpertBook B9450: the weight and the battery life. Pick up the Asus ExpertBook B9450, and you’ll wonder where the rest of it is. Asus is touting it as the world’s lightest 14-inch commercial laptop, and it is light. Carrying it around, I felt like I was carrying nothing. My test unit is 2.19 pounds, but models go as low as 1.91 pounds. Inside the 0.6-inch chassis, though, Asus has still managed to include some decent specs. Models start at $1,699, and the base includes 16GB of RAM, 512GB of storage, and a Core i7-10510U with Intel’s UHD Graphics 620. The model I’m using, which costs $1,799, has the same processor but bumps the storage up to two 1TB drives. Asus says the keyboard has a lifespan of up to 10,000,000 keystrokes, per its durability testing. But the ExpertBook’s battery life is just as (if not more) impressive than its weight. In my testing, it lasted an average of 10 hours and 47 minutes — and that was while multitasking with a decent load of Chrome tabs and apps at 200 nits of brightness. That means the ExpertBook isn’t the longest-lasting business laptop I’ve ever tested (the $3,000 Dell Latitude still holds that crown), but it’s certainly in the hall of fame. That’s my quick take on the ExpertBook. Those are the two standout features (in addition to the storage capacity). Together, they make it a great option for business users who need a portable device with quite a bit of storage, but pot
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Microsoft may have killed off its flagship MP3 player nearly a decade ago, but these fans are keeping their enthusiasm alive By Jan 20, 2021, 9:00am EST It was weird to own a Zune in 2005. It is even weirder to own a Zune in 2021 — let alone 16 of them. And yet, 27-year-old Conner Woods proudly shows off his lineup on a kitchen table. They come in all different colors, shapes, and sizes, and each can be identified by that telltale black plastic D-pad just below the screen. He owns the entire scope of the brief Zune lineup — from the svelte Zune 4 to the chunky Zune HD — and among the microscopic community of people who still adore Microsoft’s much-derided MP3 player, no collection of dead tech could possibly be more enviable. Woods picked up his Zune foraging habit during the pandemic, while he was furloughed from his job working security at Best Buy. “I taught myself to solder, began buying up dead Zunes, and repairing and flipping them for a profit,” he says. “At some point I ran across some rare ones and couldn’t bring myself to part with them.” He counts a particularly
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In brief After an initial failure in 2020, the Virgin Galactic spinout reached orbit on its second try, with the LauncherOne rocket deploying its payloads to a 500km orbit. Virgin Orbit employs an air-launch system via the Cosmic Girl carrier aircraft, an adapted Boeing 747, which drops LauncherOne at the required altitude. The first attempt, in may last year, saw a brief firing of the rocket's engine before it abruptly cut out. Things went considerably better over the weekend as the NewtonThree engine burned for the full duration before stage separation and the NewtonFour-powered second stage took the payload to orbit. Virgin Orbit can now take its place alongside other small sat launchers, such as Rocket Lab. The differentiator is that air-launch capability removes the need for as much ground infrastructure. NASA bigwigs, the UK Space Agency and UK politicians lined up to congratulate the company. After all, there is a runway in Cornwall anxiously awaiting Virgin Orbit's arrival. Thank you, @spacegovuk, for all of your support. We look forward to bringing launch to Britain! https://t.co/tjY0sQ8eMC — Virgin Orbit (@Virgin_Orbit) January 18, 2021 Boeing's Calamity Capsule software checks out While the Space Launch System core stage, led by Boeing, may have faltered over the weekend, the company's troubled CST-100 Starliner spacecraft took another step closer to launch. Issues with the qualification processes the first time around resulted in a failure of the uncrewed capsule to reach the International Space Station (ISS) and a truncated mission. Boeing announced that the formal requalification of the flight software was now complete ahead of a re-run of that first mission in March. Testing has included full end-to-end mission scenarios and "additional assessments were made to verify the complete integration of software with all recommended flight hardware." It's a shame that such diligence did not feature quite so prominently before. Additional work is planned with the launch provider, United Launch Alliance, as well as the ISS programme before a final end-to-end simulation of the entire OFT-2 mission is run in the Avionics and Software Integration Lab (ASIL) using flight hardware and the final version of the flight software. Should the repeat mission, the uncrewed OFT-2, be successful, the company hopes to launch its astronauts later this year. Blue Origin launches and lands another uncrewed capsule Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin made progress towards stuffing humans into its crew capsule last week as it launched a fresh New Shepard booster and capsule, recovering both components. While there were no humans on board, the capsule was outfitted with seats and other fripperies to improve the experience for future flyers. The six seats featured microphones and screens for communication purposes as well as sound suppression devices to keep the noise
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rhel is the new centos — RHEL is now free for dev teams, and it's even free in production for up to 16 systems. Enlarge / CentOS used to be the preferred way to get RHEL compatibility at no cost. CentOS is gone now—but Red Hat is extending no-cost options for RHEL further than ever before. Last month, Red Hat caused a lot of consternation in the enthusiast and small business Linux world when it announced the discontinuation of CentOS Linux. Long-standing tradition—and ambiguity in Red Hat's posted terms—led users to believe that CentOS 8 would be available until 2029, just like the RHEL 8 it was based on. Red Hat's early termination of CentOS 8 in 2021 cut eight of those 10 years away, leaving thousands of users stranded. CentOS Stream Red Hat's December announcement of CentOS Stream—which it initially billed as a "replacement" for CentOS Linux—left many users confused about its role in the updated Red Hat ecosystem. This week, Red Hat clarifies the broad strokes as follows: To summarize: we're making CentOS Stream the collaboration hub for RHEL, with the landscape looking like this: Fedora Linux is the place for major new operating system innovations, thoughts, and ideas—essentially, this is where the next major version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux is born. CentOS Stream is the continuously delivered platform that becomes the next minor version of RHEL. RHEL is the intelligent operating system for production workloads, used in nearly every industry in the world, from cloud-scale deployments in mission-critical data centers and localized server rooms to public clouds and out to far-flung edges of enterprise networks. Although CentOS Stream could be considered appropriate and perfectly adequate for enthusiasts and home-labbers, the lack of a long, well-defined life cycle made it inappropriate for most production use and, especially, production use by shops that chose a RHEL-compatible distribution in the first place. New no-cost, low-cost, and simplified RHEL access As of February 1, 2021, Red Hat will make RHEL available at no cost for small-production workloads—with "small" defined as 16 systems or fewer. This access to no-cost production RHEL is by way of the newly expanded Red Hat Developer Subscription program, and it comes with no strings—in Red Hat's words, "this isn't a sales program, and no sales representative will follow up." Red Hat is also expanding the availability of developer subscriptions to teams, as well as individual users. Moving forward, subscribing RHEL customers can add entire dev teams to the developer subscription program at no cost. This allows the entire team to use Red Hat Cloud Access for simplified deployment and maintenance of RHEL on well-known cloud providers, including AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure. Considering the previous public outrage about CentOS 8's early demise, we reached out to Red Hat for clarification regarding availability guarantees—specifi
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Nvidia is updating its Shield Android TV software to include support for the latest next-gen console controllers. If you own a Shield TV or Shield TV Pro device, you can now pair the PS5 DualSense or Xbox Series X controllers to play Android games or PC titles through Nvidia’s GeForce Now streaming service. To pair a PS5 DualSense controller, you can head into the Bluetooth section of the Shield TV, and then hold down the PlayStation button until the light pulses blue. For Xbox Series X / S controllers, you can hold the pairing button until the Xbox button starts blinking. Alongside the controller support, Nvidia is also adding Control4 home automation system support in this Shield TV 8
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President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are set to make history today when they will be sworn into office as president and vice president. Because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and heightened security following this month’s deadly attack on the Capitol, Inauguration Day will be unlike any other before. Here’s how to watch and participate in the historic day’s events from home: When is the presidential inauguration? The inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will begin on Wednesday, January 20th, in Washington, DC. Soon after Biden takes his oath of office, he will deliver an inaugural address outlining his vis
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Element Matrix Services is adding a bridge between hipster chat platform Slack and the open-source world of Matrix messaging. With recent events focusing the minds of users on what might be happening to their data on centrally hosted platforms, Matrix, which emerged from beta in June 2019, represents a more open alternative. To ease the journey from the centralised world of Slack, Element Matrix Services (EMS) – a hosting platform for Matrix – is adding a managed bridge for connecting Slack to the Matrix ecosystem. The bridge will join others that connect services such as Telegram and Discord to the network.
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Valve and five PC video game publishers have been fined a total of €7.8 million (around $9.5 million) by the European Commission for restricting cross-border game sales in the European Economic Area. The Commission said that the companies geo-blocked around 100 PC video games, preventing them from being activated and played outside certain EU countries. This broke the EU’s Digital Single Market rules which prohibit those types of barriers. The European Commission says the geo-blocking was to prevent games being activated outside Czechia, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Geo-blocking prevents gamers living in EU countries with higher average incomes fr
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The product activation inflicted on Windows by Microsoft has few fans, but one of its creators stepped up over the weekend to explain and defend the maligned technology. The sight of Windows bleating about activation is a familiar one (certainly to those that follow our Bork feature). While also a mainstay of the Office productivity suite, it turned up in Windows XP as an extension to the serial numbers of the past, as Microsoft tried to address piracy worries. As with the serial number, the user was expected to enter a lengthy alphanumeric that was associated with a computed hash based on the system components. Microsoft's s
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Google is releasing a new version of Chrome this week that will improve its dark mode support, alongside removing FTP and Adobe Flash support. The dark mode improvements can be found on both Windows and Chrome OS. There are refinements to both the light and dark modes in Chrome OS, with the themes updated for the app launcher, quick settings, and shelf parts of Chrome OS. How To Geek also reports that the Windows 10 dark mode is improved with Chrome 88, with scroll bars finally appearing dark. Unfortunately, these are currently limited to the settings, bookmarks, history, and new tab pages of Chrome 88 and not across all websites with dark themes. Elsewhere, Google is also removing some
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Distributed SQL database biz Cockroach Labs has analysed public cloud performance and concluded that Google Cloud Platform wins on throughput, although AWS is ahead on CPU performance and network latency. Cockroach Labs first reported on cloud performance in 2018, saying: "We are committed to building a cloud neutral product, and we run test clusters on all three leading US cloud providers." The researchers measured CPU, network, storage, and online transaction processing (OLTP) performance. At the time, the researchers reported that "AWS outperforms GCP on nearly every criteria we tested – including cost." Azure was not tested in 2018. In 2020 a new test showed relatively close performance from AWS, Azure and GCP, the conclusion being that "GCP shows dramatic improvement in the 2020 Cloud Report edging out AWS and Azure on price per performance of TPC-C but slightly underperforming AWS and Azure on max tpmC available on a three node cluster." How about 2021? The researchers benchmarked 54 different virtual machine types and performed nearly 1,000 benchmark runs. The benchmark scripts are open source here. None of the three providers have been shamed, with the detailed results showing wins for all three in some categories. This was also a test limited to VMs, and did not cover the myriad other services on offer. Detailed results show wins for all three providers in different categories The high-level overview reported that AWS provided the most cost-efficient machine and the best network latencies, and that the ARM-based Graviton processor "performed best in the multi-core CPU benchmark". AWS was behind though on storage I/O and single-core CPU. A key metric in the report is TPM (throughput per minute). TPM "in practical terms, measures the number of orders processed per minute," the researchers said. Azure "had comparable raw throughput (TPM) performance with GCP and AWS," surpassed AWS in storage I/O performance, and led on storage IOPS and write latency with its ultra disks – but this came at a price, with Azure being the "least cost-efficient cloud provider in terms of $/TPM." GCP had the best single-core CPU performance and "the most throughput at every level," the report concluded, outperforming AWS and Azure "in network and storage I/O (read and write) throughput." Two key charts show the most cost-efficient machine, based on cost per TPM, and the maximum obtainable TPM from a virtual machine. AWS has a small but significant advantage in cost efficiency, while Azure competes well for best performance but at substantially higher cost On cost efficiency over three years, AWS was hailed as the winner at 0.81 $/TPM, followed by GCP at 0.92 $/TPM and Azure at 0.95 $/TPM. For top performance, though, GCP won with TPM of 37,048, followed by Azure at 36,952 and AWS at 36,627 – though, once again, Azure was the most expensive at 1.49 $/TPM compared to GCP's 1.01 $/TPM and AWS at 0.97
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US sanctions on Huawei got the Chinese firm kicked out of Britain, the former head of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has told Parliament – adding that he didn't feel under pressure to change the body's own verdict on keeping Huawei in UK mobile networks. Speaking to Parliament's National Security Strategy (NSS) Committee, Ciaran Martin told peers and MPs that US trade sanctions aimed at Huawei were the final nail in the coffin for the Chinese telecom equipment supplier in Britain. "While the Huawei issue for better
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Google is investigating artificial intelligence researcher Margaret Mitchell, who co-leads the company’s Ethical AI team, and has locked her corporate account, Axios reports. The news comes a little over a month after another prominent AI ethicist, Timnit Gebru, said she was fired by the company. Mitchell’s account has now reportedly been locked for “at least a few days” but she hasn’t been fired, according to a tweet from Gebru. Mitchell did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In a statement given to Axios, Google said it was investigating Mitchell after its systems
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Mercedes-Benz threw back the curtain on the EQA crossover, its latest electric vehicle as part of a slate of new EVs that are being planned for the coming years. The compact SUV will have a range of less than 300 miles, a 66.5kWh battery pack, and a net list price of €39,950 ($48,442). The EQA, which is based on the German automaker’s GLA-class of SUVs, is scheduled to go into production this year in Europe, but likely won’t make it to the US anytime soon. That said, a spokesperson for Daimler, Mercedes-Benz’s parent company, said the EQA is still being considered for the US market. American car buyers would do better waiting for the EQB electric crossover, which will be closely related to the boxier GLB-class vehicle. The EQB is also scheduled to go into production later this year. Meanwhile, the EQS and EQE models will be the first EVs built on Mercedes’ new modular electric vehicle platform. The EQA is built on the same vehicle platform as the $68,000 EQC SUV, which was supposed to start shipping in the US at the start of 2020 but was pushed to 2021. And like with the EQC, Mercedes is relying on the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) to make a range estimate of 486 kilometers (300 miles) for the EQA. That’s unfortunate because the NEDC standard is widely considered to be outdated and is in the process of being replaced with the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) that is supposed to be a bit more stringent. The US Environmental Protection Agency performs its own testing to set range estimates for electric cars, which tended to be lower than the NEDC and are considered to be closer to real-world performance. If and when the EQA comes to the US, it’s very likely that its EPA-estimated range will be less than 300 miles. The EQA, which is launching as “EQA 250,” will have a 66.5kWh battery pack, which is slightly above average for the EVs on the road today. Tesla’s biggest battery is 100kWh, available in the Model S and Model X, which is one of the biggest batteries currently available. The EQA will start in Germany at €47,540.50. Mercedes says it plans to release additional variants of the crossover, including an all-wheel drive version with an additional electric powertrain that increases the power output to 200kW or more, while also offering a version with a range of more than 500 kilometers (310 miles) based on the WLTP standard. Interested buyers will have some options when it comes to the EQA’s interior. They can either choose two 7-inch displays for both the instrument cluster and main infotainment screen, or a widescreen variant with two 10.25-inch displays. It won’t have Mercedes-Benz’s recently revealed, mammoth, pillar-to-pillar, 56-inch touchscreen that will debut in the upcoming EQS luxury electric sedan. The EQA will come standard with the automaker’s second-generation MBUX infotainment system that eschews physical buttons in favor of a completely digital (and voice-controlled) in-car user experience. Mercedes-Benz sees the EQA as
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AirPods are as close as you can get to a swearword in the repair world, known for being almost impossible to service thanks to their densely packed circuitry and closed design. Mercifully, that isn't the case when it comes to Apple's hugely expensive AirPods Max headphones. The buds proved surprisingly modular when subjected to the harsh glare of spudger-wielders at iFixit. Here's the good news: the AirPods Max are fairly modular, making disassembly straightforward. That is, provided you've got a sufficiently large screwdriver collection. The gadget botherers encountered a dizzying array of screw types, ranging from pentalobe and Torx to one they couldn't quite identify at first glance. This shouldn't come as much of a surprise to anyone who has ever serviced or repaired Apple-made kit. Cupertino has a propensity for using different screw types in its hardware, with early-generation Intel MacBooks prime examples of this. This will inevitably make reassembly that bit harder, especially if you fail to keep proper track of where each screw goes. What lies beneath (click to enlarge). Pic: courtesy iFixit "While screws are almost always preferable to glue, the sheer number of screw types here is baffling — you'll need an extensive toolkit, even by our standards," the right-to-repair site remarked. Apple aptly calls its wireless over-the-ear headphones the AirPods Max – as in, maximum damage to your wallet READ MORE Speaking of adhesive, we've got some bad news on that front. The earcup grilles on each cup are affixed with both pentalobe screws, as well as hefty globs of glue. Defeating this requires the careful use of a heat gun, lest you inadvertently melt part of your £550 headphones. After that, it's straightforward, albeit fiddly, work. With a bit of finesse, it's possible to dislodge all relevant components: from the dual logic boards hidden within each speaker, to the headband and dual batteries. Dual logic boards hidden within each speaker... "These things are actually fairly serviceable. Not fun to service, but serviceable," remarked iFixit. Is this much of a surprise? Well, yes and no. On one hand, we suspected that these buds would be relatively repairable, especially considering Apple has already priced up the cost of basic out-of-warranty fixes, like battery replacements. Similarly, other over-ear headphones have proven possible to fix in the past. But again, one can't ignore Apple's limited enthusiasm for third-party repairs, which applies to computer hardware and audio kit alike. As mentioned, the earbud-style AirPods are effectively designed to be disposable. When the battery dies, there's no real way to fix it. Your only option is to buy another. This design hurts both consumers and the environment. Precedent made us fear the AirPods Max would be the same way. This time, we're glad to be proven wrong. ®
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Taiwanese chip flinger MediaTek has introduced two new additions to its Dimensity SoC lineup, both targeting higher-end smartphones. The Dimensity 1200 and 1100 are both manufactured using TSMC's 6nm process and use the same GPU, Arm's Mali-G77. Across the board, there's support for dual-sim 5G connections, Wi-Fi 6, and Bluetooth 5.2. Each supports LPDDR4x RAM and UFS 3.1 storage. The main points of differentiation come when you look at processing power as well as photography capabilities. At the high-end, the Dimensity 1200 is seen as a replacement to the 1000-series chip introduced early last year. This time, MediaTek has opted for a tri-cluster architecture. This consists of a single Cortex-A78 "ultra-core" clocked at 3GHz, three A78 "super cores" clocked at 2.6GHz, and four power-sipping "efficiency cores" based on the Cortex-A55 design and clocked at 2GHz. In a briefing, MediaTek's GM of sales, Finbarr Moynihan, claimed the Dimensity 1200 offers a 22 per cent uplift in computing performance, and operates 25 per cent more efficiently than its predecessor. By contrast, the Dimensity 1100 uses a conventional two-cluster architecture (often referred to as big.LITTLE), touting four Cortex-A78 cores clocked at 2.6GHz, as well as four Cortext-A55 cores at 2.0GHz. Differences emerge between the ISP (image-signal processor) present in each chip. MediaTek says the variant used on the Dimensity 1200 is capable of capturing up to 200MP from a single sensor, whereas the Dimensity 1100 maxes out at 108MP. MediaTek's latest chip promises 5G for the proles: Destined for those not-so-high end smartmobes READ MORE More megapixels doesn't necessarily result in higher-quality pictures, however. In fact, the inverse is often true. Smaller pixels are less capable at absorbing light, resulting in poorer low-light performance. This forces vendors to rely on a tactic called "pixel binning", which combines groups of pixels into a single logical unit, improving picture quality at the expense of size and resolution. High-megapixel sensors are gimmick, basically, but an effective one. Ultra-high megapixel counts serve as a great marketing hook for smartphone vendors, eager to ply subpar cameras on unwitting consumers who don't know any better. The first 200MP-sensor phones are expected to hit shelves later this year, with Samsung's ISOCELL expected to lead the charge. On the other hand, though, that we're likely to see phones sharing MediaTek's 200MP capture capability over multiple smaller sensors, and so those devices won't suffer from the aforementioned low-light performance. Both chips are capable of powering QHD+ (circa 3200 x 1440) displays at a smooth 90Hz refresh rate. Things get slightly bonkers when you drop the resolution down to FHD+ (roughly 2400 x 1080), with the Dimensity 1100 supporting refresh rates of 144Hz, while the Dimensity 1200 is capable of powering 168Hz screens. This feature is likely onl
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LG is considering exiting the smartphone market in 2021. After losing around $4.5 billion over the past five years, LG’s smartphone business has been struggling to compete with rivals. Now LG CEO Kwon Bong-seok has notified employees that the company is considering making big changes to its smartphone business. The Korea Herald reports that Kwon Bong-seok sent out an internal memo to staff on Wednesday, hinting at a change in direction for LG’s phone business. “Since the competition in the global market for mobile devices is getting fiercer, it is about time for LG to make a cold judgment and the best choice,” says an LG official in a statement to The Korea Herald. “The company
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One of President Trump’s final acts in office is to pardon a former Google engineer who was convicted of stealing trade secrets. Anthony Levandowski worked for Google’s self-driving car division, now called Waymo, before leaving to found Otto, a self-driving truck company that was acquired by Uber. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison in August, with judge William Alsup describing the incident as the “biggest trade secret crime I have ever seen.” Levandowski was found to have downloaded thousands of files to his laptop before he left Google and entered into sale discussions. Uber ultimately fired him after Google sued, and Levandowski remains in a legal battle with the ride-ha
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Astronomers have discovered the two largest-known radio galaxies to date. At a whopping 62 times the size of our own Milky Way, they are believed to be the largest single objects yet found in the universe. Radio galaxies, characterized by their large powerful billowing jets of radio emissions from a supermassive black hole gobbling mass at their centers, are fairly common in space. Humongous ones, measuring at least 700 kiloparsecs in size – that’s about 22 times the size of the Milky Way, are much more rare. A large team of researchers led by the University of Cape Town, South Africa, however, this month said they manage
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Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 870, a 5G-capable system-on-chip designed for high-ish-end Android smartphones coming out at the end by March. “Building upon the success of Snapdragon 865 and 865 Plus, the new Snapdragon 870 was designed to address OEM and mobile industry requirements,” Kedar Kondap, Qualcomm’s vice president, product management, said on Tuesday. “Snapdragon 870 will power a selection of flagship devices from key customers including Motorola, iQOO, OnePlus, OPPO, and Xiaomi.” The Snapdragon 870’s specs [PDF] are a tiny bit better than the 865 Plus [PDF] in terms of CPU clock speed, and not much
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Seven vulnerabilities have been found in a popular DNS caching proxy and DHCP server known as dnsmasq, raising the possibility of widespread online attacks on networking devices. The flaws, collectively dubbed DNSpooq, were revealed on Tuesday by Israel-based security firm JSOF at the conclusion of a five-month coordinated disclosure period. The bugs are believed to affect products from more than 40 IT vendors, including Cisco, Comcast, Google, Netgear, Red Hat, and Ubiquiti, and major Linux distributions. JSOF researchers identified three cache poisoning bugs (CVE-2020-25686, CVE-2020-25684, CVE-2020-25685) and four buffer o
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Mark Harris has put together an amazing report for TechCrunch on the legal troubles that have befallen buyers of the Boring Company’s flame-throwing device. Part of what makes it worth a read is that it digs up stories you may have not heard about yet: a police raid in London, an American doing time in an Italian prison, and how they’ve turned up in narcotics hauls alongside real guns and bags of cocaine. While the Not a Flamethrower name may actually be accurate, the story shows that when police the world over see you with a gun-shaped device, especially one that shoots flames, they may not join you in laughing about Elon’s zany project ideas. They may just end up arresting you.
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Minecraft Dungeons’ dedicated launcher on PC is being retired in favor of a new “Unified Launcher” that lets you launch Dungeons and Minecraft: Java Edition from the same place, reducing the number of places where you can play Minecraft on PC by one (via Windows Central). Minecraft Dungeons is the hack-and-slash loot collecting cousin of Minecraft that, until this change, had its own launcher unless it was purchased from the Microsoft Store. As of January 18th, the non-Microsoft Store version of Dungeons on PC can only be launched from the new Unified Launcher (which itself is an update to the Java launcher). Mojang says the change shouldn’t affect save files and that either a Microsoft account (soon to be required to play on PC) or a Mojang account can be used to log in to the launcher. An account screen from the new unified Minecraft launcher. Image: Mojang Here are the remaining ways and places you can play Minecraft on PC after the changes: Minecraft Windows 10 Edition (sometimes just called Minecraft or Minecraft: Bedrock Edition) is managed through the Microsoft Store. Minecraft: Java Edition is managed through the Unified Launcher, but you can also play without updating, for now. Minecraft: Education Edition (the specialty version of the game for schools) is managed through its own launcher. Minecraft Dungeons (a Minecraft spin-off) is either managed in the Unified Launcher or the Microsoft Store if you’re using Xbox Game Pass for PC or you bought it from there. Consolidating where you launch two Minecraft games doesn’t do much to help confusion over the many different types of Minecraft, but for any person who enjoyed playing both Minecraft Dungeons and Minecraft: Java Edition, it’s now a little bit more convenient. You can find out more information about the change and how to download the new launcher on Mojang’s Minecraft Help Center.
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The Indian government has sent a fierce letter to Facebook over its decision to update the privacy rules around its WhatsApp chat service, and asked the antisocial media giant to put a halt to the plans. In an email from the IT ministry to WhatsApp head Will Cathcart, provided to media outlets, the Indian government notes that the proposed changes “raise grave concerns regarding the implications for the choice and autonomy of Indian citizens.” In particular, the ministry is incensed that European users will be given a choice to opt out over sharing WhatsApp data with the larger Facebook empire, as well as businesses using the platform to communicate with customers, while Indian users will not. “This differential and discriminatory treatment of Indian and European users is attracting serious criticism and betrays a lack of respect for the rights and interest of Indian citizens who form a substantial portion of WhatsApp’s user base,” the letter says. It concludes by asking WhatsApp to “withdraw the proposed changes.” India’s top techies form digital foundation to fight Apple and Google READ MORE The reason that Europe is being trea
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GitHub has apologized for what it called “significant errors of judgment and procedure” in the firing of a Jewish employee for warning colleagues of neo-Nazis at the Capitol during its ransacking by pro-Trump rioters this month. Microsoft-owned code-hosting biz's COO Erica Brescia said in a blog post, shared late on Friday before America's Martin Luther King Jr long weekend, that it had “engaged an outside investigator to conduct an independent investigation” following complaints from other employees. Three days later, the report came back highlighting “significant errors of judgment,” and bosses decided that “in light of these findings, we immediately reversed the decision to separate with the employee.” It's been a day or so and nope, we still can't wrap our head around why GitHub would fire someone for saying Nazis were storming the US Capitol READ MORE She also apologized to the fired worker while offering them their job back, noting that its head of HR had “taken personal accountability and resigned from GitHub” over the weekend. GitHub and Brescia did not go into any detail, however, over what had happened and what the errors in judgment and procedure actually were. The head of HR was not named, though it is understood to be chief human resources officer Carrie Olesen. The saga started when, earlier this month. and during the deadly storming of the Capitol building by supporters of President Trump, the employee took to the software company’s internal Slack workspace and sent the message “stay safe homies Nazis are about.” Another employee responded, complaining that it was “untasteful conduct for [the] workplace.” The response went on: “You don’t see ‘commie’ being dropped in workplace nor should ‘Nazi’, its just slandering and inappropriate conduct…” To which the original poster pointed out, correctly, “there are literal Nazi flags.” And while that should have been the end of it, it wasn’t, and the beef continued.
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One of the biggest trends coming out of this year’s CES wasn’t something people will necessarily notice at first glance unless they look closely. After enduring years of cramped, “widescreen” laptop displays, it looks like we’re finally starting to say goodbye to the 16:9 aspect ratio. Here’s the new Dell Latitude 9420. Image: Dell An aspect ratio is the ratio of a display’s width to a display’s height (in that order). For example, a screen with a resolution of 500 x 500 would have an aspect ratio of 1:1. Think of it like simplifying a fraction: a 1080p screen has a resolution of 1920 x 1080, which divides down to 16:9. The aspect ratios you’ll typically see on laptops are 16:9, 3:2, 16:10 (which, for whatever reason, is called 16:10 rather than 8:5), and (occasionally) 4:3. 16:9 is the most common option and also the one with the lowest amount of vertical space relative to its horizontal space. If you have a modern Windows laptop, there’s a good chance your screen is 16:9. If you have a gaming laptop, its panel is almost certainly 16:9. (It’s unusual to find high refresh-rate panels with other proportions.) There are some notable exceptions: Microsoft’s Surface products have been 3:2 for quite some time, while Dell’s last few XPS 13 models and Apple’s MacBooks are already 16:10. But traditionally, Windows laptops like these have been few and far between. 16:9 screens are cramped — at least compared to other options. I usually can’t comfortably work in multiple windows side by side without zooming out or doing a ton of vertical scrolling, and when I’m multitasking in Chrome, the tabs get tiny very quickly. If you’re used to using a 16:9 screen and you try a 16:10 or 3:2 display of the same size, you probably won’t want to go back. You just have a lot more room, and it’s a much more efficient use of screen space. But this CES showed that 16:10 and 3:2 displays are inching closer to the mainstream. These are some of the biggest laptops announced at the show that are offering non-16:9 display
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Last week, we told you how Wattpad has become a place where budding authors can sometimes turn their work into Hollywood film and TV, with Hulu, Netflix and others adapting Wattpad writers’ labors into titles like The Kissing Booth, Light as a Feather and After We Collided. But it looks like Wattpad may no longer be trying to become an entertainment tastemaker all on its own — South Korean web company Naver is buying Wattpad for over $600 million, the companies announced today. While details are scarce, it seems like Naver already sees Wattpad as a natural pairing with one of its other brands — Webtoon, an online webtoon publishing portal that similarly allows artists to upload their own work and similarly spawns TV and anime adaptations.(Here’s a handy list of those adaptations
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Nintendo has announced that it’s collaborating with cosmetics brand ColourPop on a makeup collection inspired by Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The collection looks to be relatively extensive, including four powder palettes that are themed after characters in the game. Obviously, Isabelle is fabulous enough that she doesn’t have to share with anyone and gets her own. ColourPop is no stranger to pop culture collaborations. It has lines inspired by Disney princesses, The Mandalorian, and even Sailor Moon. The Animal Crossing venture won’t even be the first collab it’s done with a gaming brand, as there’s also a Candy Land x ColourPop line. The collection shows that, even though the game has been out for 10 months at this point, the game still has some cultural significance.
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The Qualcomm electronics recycling program — Qualcomm recycles the Snapdragon 865+, now with a 3 percent clock boost. Qualcomm is repackaging a chip from last year into the "Snapdragon 870." Last year's flagship SoC was the Snapdragon 865, and then Qualcomm released the slightly up-clocked Snapdragon 865+. The Snapdragon 870 seems to be a 865++. It's another clock bump. Qualcomm has a totally impenetrable product lineup, so it's hard to know if any single non-flagship SoC announcement from the company is significant. It sounds like this chip will be picked up by some of the more interesting Android OEMs, though. The press release says it will "power a selection of flagship devices from key customers including Motorola, iQOO, OnePlus, OPPO, and Xiaomi.” The real flagship SoC is the Snapdragon 888, so Qualcomm's use of "flagship" here definitely belongs in scare quotes. Like the 865, this is a 7nm, eight-core chip. The Prime Cortex A77 core is now clocked at 3.2GHz, and hold on to your benchmark apps, because that's 3 percent faster than the 3.1Ghz S
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Google on Tuesday announced the stable channel release of Chrome 88, which includes support for an extension platform revision known as Manifest v3. Manifest v3 was announced in October, 2018, as part of a broad effort to overhaul the security of various Google products and services. The term refers to the manifest.json file, one of several files in a Chrome extension, through which the developer declares the APIs and permissions necessary for the extension to function. Version 3 redefines the scope and capabilities of the APIs available to those creating extensions for Google's Chrome web browser. "Manifest v3 is a new extension platform that makes Chrome extensions more secure, performant, and privacy respecting, by default," said Chrome developer advocate Pete LePage in a blog post. "For example, it disallows remotely hosted code, which helps Chrome Web Store reviewers better understand what risks an extension poses." Why are fervid Googlers making ad-blocker-breaking changes to Chrome? Because they created a monster – and are fighting to secure it READ MORE There's little doubt Chrome extensions will benefit from better security, something that has been inadequate since the creation of the Chrome Web Store in 2010, then known as the Google Chrome Extensions Gallery. And the privacy improvements, such as more extensive disclosure requirements, are real. However, Google's claims about the performance benefit of Manifest v3 have been disputed. Regardless, the platform adjustment comes at a cost: extensions develope
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Vrbo has changed its stance on people making reservations in the Washington, DC area during the week of the inauguration. The company announced on January 19th, the day before the event, that it will block any new reservations through Friday, January 22nd. Vrbo previously stated it was evaluating new bookings and that it would “take appropriate action in coordination with law enforcement” if necessary. The news was tweeted by Expedia Group (which owns Vrbo) and from the official Vrbo Twitter account. It comes in light of DC officials encouraging people to stay home and participate in the inauguration virtually. Based on updated guidance provided by government officials regarding security threats, and as part of ongoing efforts to protect the safety of travelers, partners and communities, all new Vrbo reservations will be blocked in and around Washington, D.C. through Friday, 1/22.— Vrbo (@vrbo) January 19, 2021 The company has slowly been changing its policies around inauguration rentals, after Buzzfeed News reported that residents are concerned about extremists using the service to stay in DC. But while Vrbo stated that it was “encouraging hosts to cancel bookings,” it’s not blanket-canceling reservations. When asked if this was still the case after today’s block, the company responded that it would indeed not cancel all existing reservations, but it is “re-vetting [them], to help ensure public safety.” In comparison, Airbnb not only blocked new res
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Photo by Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images Ripples from the Capitol riots could be spreading across the country By Jan 19, 2021, 5:05pm EST When thousands of insurr
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For the first time since October 13th, 2017, The CW’s app sat atop the list of free apps available on iOS devices, passing YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and more. Airing the shows on the app isn’t new: The CW has routinely run its series in-season on its apps and digital networks. Riverdale has seen several season premieres since October 2017, but it never catapulted The CW app to the top of the iOS store. All American and Batwoman are relatively new, but even their past seasons didn’t contribute to massive download spikes. The CW noted in a statement to The Streamable that this is the
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big mess — State accuses her of unauthorized access to its computer systems. Enlarge / Florida's handling of the pandemic has been... a mixed bag. This beach was hopping on May 20, around the same time Jones publicly claimed the state fired her for refusing to manipulate Florida's COVID-19 data.Florida police have arrested former state data scientist Rebekah Jones, accusing her of breaking state laws prohibiting accessing computer systems without authorization. J
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Legal smackdown — Biden administration can start afresh without need to revisit existing EPA rules. Enlarge / DUNKIRK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2016/10/09: A NRG owned coal fired energy facility that plans to convert to a natural gas facility. Today, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia vacated the Trump administration's attempt to take a minimalist approach to the regulation of carbon dioxide emissions. The ruling was a lopsided victory for the long list of groups opposing the Trump EPA's approach, with the entire rule being vacated. Thus, the Biden administration will start unencumbered by its predecessors' attempts to gut
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The Samsung Galaxy Tab Active 3, announced globally in September of last year, is now available in the US starting at $489.99. It’s a rugged 8-inch Android tablet designed primarily for manufacturing, retail, and job sites, with an IP68 water- and dust-resistance rating. Samsung even says it passed tests against 23 environmental conditions, including vibrations and high altitude, to meet the MIL-STD-810 military-grade standard. An IP68 S Pen stylus is included in the box, as is a case that protects against drops up to 1.5 meters. The Tab Active 3’s touchscreen is designed to be used even when wearing work gloves, though not “extremely heavy duty gloves or mittens.” It also offers three physical navigation buttons as well as two programmable buttons that can act as shortcuts to c
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Netflix has surpassed another major milestone: 203.6 million subscribers around the world. The achievement comes after Netflix saw spectacular growth in the first half of 2020. But as it celebrates passing the 200 million subscriber mark, Netflix is also acknowledging that 2021 likely won’t see as many net subscriber gains every quarter, starting in the first quarter of 2021. Netflix added a total of 8.5 million paid net subscribers in Q4, bringing in a record breaking 37 million paid memberships in 2020. Netflix “achieved $25 billion in annual revenue,” according to the earnings report. Still, Netflix is warning that “we expect paid net adds of 6 million” in Q1 2021 compared to last year’s “15.8 million, which included the impact from the initial COVID-19 lockdowns.”
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Any organizations that used the backdoored SolarWinds network-monitoring software should take another look at their logs for signs of intrusion in light of new guidance and tooling. In an update and white paper [PDF] released on Tuesday, FireEye warned that the hackers – which intelligence services and computer security outfits have concluded were state-sponsored Russians – had specifically targeted two groups of people: those with access to high-level information, and sysadmins. But the targeting of those accounts will be difficult to detect, FireEye warned, because of the way they did it: forging the digital certificates and tokens used for authentication to look around networks without drawing much or any attention.
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Much has been made of Search Party as a uniquely millennial show, like it’s a brunch line you can watch other people stand in. It’s true that the HBO Max comedy — initially about finding a missing acquaintance — is absolutely drenched in the iconography of privileged millennials; their world is Instagram-friendly and the characters are all in a self-serving relationship with New York City. But it’s also a show with a uniquely online worldview: where everything, no matter how remote, is happening to you, personally, all the time. The new season of Search Party, which premiered last week, starts in a wildly different place than the series began. Unbeknownst to her friends, protagonist Dory Sief (Alia Shawkat) is being held hostage by an obsessed fan, imprisoned in his basement.
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A few weeks ago, our furnace (technically a ductless heat pump) stopped working at the worst possible time of the year. But at least one room stays nice and toasty all winter long — thanks to my gaming PC. Now, The Wall Street Journal is reporting this might actually be a trend: some bitcoin miners and gamers are warming their rooms, growing tomatoes, and even heating a chicken coop during the pandemic. It made me wonder: how many Verge readers are doing the same? Poll Are you (intentionally) heating your home with gaming hardware? 58% No (105 votes) 34% Yes, with my gaming PC (62 votes)
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Dealmaster — Dealmaster also has deals on Hitman 3, Roomba vaccuums, and the iPad Air. Ars Technica Today's Dealmaster includes a number of discounts on first-party Nintendo Switch games. While most of the deals don't reach the lowest prices we've ever seen, the likes of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, Super Mario Party, and Super Mario Maker 2 are all down to $40, bringing them each about $10 cheaper than their usual street prices online. While many of the discounted games have been out of contract for a few years, newer recommended titles like Clubhouse Games and Paper Mario: The Or
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Despite a whirlwind of electric vehicle SPAC mergers in the last few months, there’s still one startup flying solo that’s arguably the best-positioned. Yes, Faraday Future is still on the market — though maybe not for long. Sure, Faraday Future is distressed and its electric SUV is outrageous, but it developed valid technology over the last few years that is further along than what some competitors have. It will take a lot of money to get that vehicle over the proverbial finish line. Lucky for Faraday Future, though, money is now incredibly easy to come by. In the last seven months alone, a half-dozen startups have gone public or announced plans to go public by merging with SPACs, or special-purpose acquisition companies — publicly traded investment funds that only exist to acq
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Taiwanese chip flinger MediaTek has introduced two new additions to its Dimensity SoC lineup, both targeting higher-end smartphones. The Dimensity 1200 and 1100 are both manufactured using TSMC's 6nm process and use the same GPU, Arm's Mali-G77. Across the board, there's support for dual-sim 5G connections, Wi-Fi 6, and Bluetooth 5.2. Each supports LPDDR4x RAM and UFS 3.1 storage. The main points of differentiation come when you look at processing power, as well as photography capabilities. At the high-end, the Dimensity 1200 is seen as a replacement to the 1000-series chip introduced early last year. This time, MediaTek has opted for a tri-cluster architecture. This consists of a single Cortex-A78 "ultra-core" clocked at 3
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DC is shaking up its comics app on January 21st and relaunching it as DC Universe Infinite. The original DC Universe featured television shows and comics, but now that DC shows have moved to HBO Max, the company has decided to refocus the app on comics and the “fan community,” while keeping the same $7.99-a-month price. DC Universe Infinite will have DC’s catalog and early access to comics six months after they’re released physically in stores. Additionally, DC says the comic reader in its app has been improved, and users will have more options to curate custom lists of titles. The app will also have a customizable icon and a widget for iOS 14 so you can get back into whatever you were reading faster. In terms of features, DC Universe Infinite is most similar to Marvel Unlimite
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Someone had to do it: there’s now a bot that turns Reddit arguments into scenes from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, complete with music and the iconic “OBJECTION!” intercuts. It’s from those moments that it draws its name: objection-bot. Users can summon the bot by typing “!objection-bot” under a thread that would work as an Ace Attorney courtroom scene, and the bot will generate a video based on the posts. It feels a little like shouting “worldstar!” but on Reddit. You can see an excellent Cyberpunk 2077-related example below: The genius behind the bot is Reddit user oppai_suika, who was kind enough to also post the source code. They also note in a comment that the number one and two fighters get assigned as Phoenix and Edgeworth, respectively, and everyone else is ass
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license to off-road — It looks amazing and drives even better, but the downside is a crippling thirst. This is the $176,900 2021 Aston Martin DBX, the first ever crossover from the storied British brand. Jonathan Gitlin
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Cruising — Investment pits Microsoft against Google sibling Waymo. Driverless Chevy Bolts are a common sight on the streets of San Francisco, where Cruise is based.Microsoft has invested in Cruise, the General Motors driverless car unit, in a $2 billion funding round that gives the autonomous driving company a $30 billion valuation. Cruise, which was bought by GM for “more than $1 billion” in 2016, when it had just 40 employees, now has almost 2,000 staff and accounts for more than 40 percent of GM’s $71.5 billion market capitalisation. Its latest investment round puts it head-to-head with Waymo, the Google sister company, as the world’s most valuable autonomous driving start-up. Waymo raised $3.2 billion last year at an undisclosed valuation that two people said to the FT was “more than $30 billion.” The investment in Cruise is Microsoft’s first major foray into driverless cars, although the software company does have a “connected car” business that supplies “digital chassis” and cloud services to the likes of Volkswagen, BMW, and Ford. Satya Nadella, Microsoft chief executive, said that both Cruise and GM would use Microsoft’s cloud computing platform Azure “to help them scale and make autonomous transportation mainstream.” Mary Barra, GM’s chief executive, said America’s largest automotive company would “realize even more benefits from cloud computing as we launch 30 new electric vehicles globally by 2025 and create new businesses and services to drive growth.” In early trading, GM shares rose over 9.5
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The making of a mob — Research suggests disinfo and demagogues coordinate, not manipulate, the masses. Enlarge / Trump supporters near the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. The rioters stormed the historic building, breaking windows and clashing with police. (Photo by Shay Horse/NurPhoto via Getty Images)It's a dark moment in American history that will not be soon forgotten. On January 6, thousands of supporters of soon-to-be-former President Donald Trump gathered for a "Stop the Steal" rally in Washington, DC, to protest the certification of the 2020 election results by Congress. Speaker after speaker pumped up the angry crowd by repeating false claims of widespread election fraud, culminating with an address by Trump himself, in which he called on his followers to "fight like hell" and march on the US Capitol. The result: frenzied rioters overran Capitol Police, smashing windows and triumphantly posing for selfies as they roamed through the evacuated building. By the time the National Guard regained control, five people were dead, including a Capitol Police officer. As people struggled to process the horror in the immediate aftermath, Michael Bang Petersen, a Danish political scientist at Aarhus University, weighed in on Twitter with some counter-intuitive commentary. While the predominant theme among many pundits centered on the role of Trump and his enablers spreading lies about widespread voter fraud and then whipping the crowd into a frenzy during that morning's rally, Petersen suggested that perhaps t
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After the weekend's shorter-than-hoped-for test firing of the core stage of NASA's monstrous Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, engineers have confirmed the hardware remains in "excellent condition" and blamed "test parameters that were intentionally conservative." The parameters were designed for ground testing and were exceeded by a hydraulic system during gimballing by thrust vector control hardware, resulting in the shutdown. "If this scenario occurred during a flight," the agency explained, "the rocket would have continued to fly using the remaining CAPUs [Core Stage Auxiliary Power Units] to power the thrust vector control systems for the engines." "The specific logic that stopped the test is unique to the ground test when the core stage is mounted in the B-2 test stand at Stennis," added the agency. Alas, the intentional stressing of the system that resulted in the CAPU shutdown (and transfer of power to the other CAPUs) exceeded those pre-sets and triggered the premature end of the hotfire. "The data is being assessed as part of the process of finalizing the pre-set test limits prior to the next usage of the core stage." And that alarming Major Component Failure (MCF) call? It was due to the loss of one leg of redundancy in the instrumentation of Engine 4. In addition, the engines managed to hit their full power of 109 per cent during the test. However, and here lies the rub, there is no escaping the fact that 67.2 seconds is quite some way short of the eight minutes engineers aimed for. While the initial findings will provide a little relief for the troubled Artemis programme and its schedule constraints, they do not yet justify ditching a second test and shipping the stage to Kennedy Space Center. "Data analysis is continuing to help the team determine if a second hotfire test is required," said the agency. Those parameters around the thrust vector control can be tweaked by the team to prevent another automatic shutdown should the decision be taken to run the test again.
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Facebook and its Irish subsidiary on Thursday announced the filing of a lawsuit in Portugal against two people for allegedly scraping Facebook profile data and other browser info using malicious Chrome extensions. "Using the business name 'Oink And Stuff,' the defendants developed browser extensions and made them available on the Chrome store," said Jessica Romero, director of platform enforcement and litigation for Facebook, in a blog post. "They misled users into installing the extensions with a privacy policy that claimed they did not collect any personal information." Oink And Stuff did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The company's privacy policy claims, "Oink and Stuff is audited by Softpedia Labs as 100 per cent Clean, which means it does not contain any form of malware, including but not limited to: spyware, viruses, trojans and backdoors." Softpedia Labs, part of Bucharest, Romania-based SoftNews Net SRL, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Romero claims that four Oink And Stuff Chrome extensions – Web for Instagram plus DM, Blue Messenger, Emoji keyboard and Green Messenger – "were malicious and contained hidden comp
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In brief Last week ended with news that the venerable infosec mailing list Bugtraq was being shutdown at the end of the month. From its first posts in November 1993, Bugtraq aimed to get details of vulnerabilities, as well as defence and exploitation techniques, onto netizens' radar, and discussed among admins and security researchers. Posts to this once high-volume Symantec-owned list stopped on February 22 last year, and now we know why – a lack of funding and resources. "Assets of Symantec were acquired by Broadcom in late 2019, and some of those assets were then acquired by Accenture in 2020," an email from the list administrators read. "At this time, resources for the Bugtraq mailing list have not been prioritized, and this will be the last message to the list. The archive will be shut down January 31st, 2021." Then on Sunday, Accenture had a change of heart. It's now looking like Bugtraq could last a while longer. "Bugtraq has been a valuable institution within the Cyber Security community for almost 30 years. Many of our own people entered the industry by subscribing to it and learning from it," the Accenture team said. "So, based on the feedback we've received both from the community-at-large and internally, we've decided to keep the Bugtraq list running. We'll be working in the coming weeks to ensure that it can remain a valuable asset to the community for years to come." If you're using non-Chromium Edge on Windows, don't. A bug-hunter known as Jonas L found that accessing a specially named folder path on NTFS will corrupt the file-system on Windows 10 1803 and later, requring a reboot and repair operation. Non-Chromium Edge browsers will try to open the path if it's in a URL in a malicious webpage, triggering the flaw. There are other ways to get people to open the path, such as by hiding the folder in a zip file. It's hoped Microsoft will fix this soon. We're not going to share the folder name until then. Mimecast cert hack: Enterprise security shop Mimecast revealed last we
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No Spectrum data caps (until 2023) — Charter cannot impose data caps until May 2023, won't ask Biden FCC to nix ban. Getty Images | Andrzej WojcickiCharter Communications has withdrawn a petition seeking government permission to impose data caps on broadband users this year. Unlike other ISPs, Charter is subject to the prohibition on data caps and overage fees until May 2023 because of seven-year conditions applied to its 2016 purchase of Time Warner Cable. In June 2020, Charter petitioned the Federal Communications Commission to let the condition expire two years early, on May 18, 2021. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai sought public comment on the petition but never took final action, even though he had opposed the merger conditions when they were imposed by the Obama-era FCC. With Pai leaving the FCC upon President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration tomorrow, Charter submitted a brief filing stating that it "respectfully withdraws its petition." “VICTORY” "Hey hey! Charter just withdrew its despicable petition to start implementing data caps in the middle of a pandemic! That right there is what we call a VICTORY," tweeted Dana Floberg, policy manager for consumer-advocacy group Free Press. The group previously urged the FCC to reject the petition, writing: The COVID-19 pandemic has made it abundantly clear that unlimited home broadband connections are a necessary utility service. The evidence from April through June, when most ISPs suspended their caps, demonstrates that ISP data caps and overage fees are completely unnecessary abuses of market power. All networks performed well while their operators continued to earn high profit margins, as usage skyrocketed. Charter is the second-biggest home-Internet provider in the US after Comcast and sells broadband service under the Spectrum brand name. FCC switching to Democratic control Charter's latest FCC filing didn't say why it withdrew the petition, but its request would have faced longer odds in the Biden administration with Democrats controlling the FCC. Pai's departure will leave the FCC wi
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Fortnite developer Epic says that, for 2021, the game’s competitive scene will have a prize pool of $20 million. That’s a step up from last year’s total of $17 million — though it’s not as massive as the 2019 World Cup, where $30 million was on the line. The news comes as Epic provided details on the latest season of the Fortnite Champion Series, the game’s highest level of competition. The developer previously said that all competitions would take place online, and today, it revealed more details about the schedule: qualifiers will kick off on February 4th, with the finals star
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iFixit — The headphones got a six out of 10 repairability score. Removing the ear cups is actually not that hard. He
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Green Run part deux — Of 23 test objectives, full data was received for 15 of them. Enlarge / At 4:27pm central time on Saturday, the SLS rocket core stage ignited its four RS-25 engines at NASA's Stennis Space Center. The test was to last up to eight minutes.Trevor Mahlmann for Ars Following the unsuccessful completion of a Space Launch System hot-fire test, NASA is likely to conduct a second "Green Run" firing in February. On Tuesday, three days after the first hot-fire test attempt, NASA released a summary of its preliminary analysis of data from the 67.2-second test firing. The report highlights three issues, none of which appears to be overly serious but will require further investigation. The agency found that the test, conducted at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, was automatically shut down by an out-of-limits reading of hydraulic pressure in the thrust vector control mechanism used to gimbal, or steer, the engines. At 64 seconds into the test, the rocket began a pre-programmed sequence to gimbal its engines as if it were in flight. Shortly after, the pump-return pressure fell below the redline of 50 pounds per square in gauge, to 49.6. This pressure limit, the agency said, was more stringent than an actual flight redline and was set to protect against potential damage on the test stand. Another issue, the "major component failure" in Engine 4, actually appears to be a relatively minor problem in which a redundant sensor failed. This is good, because it means that NASA would likely not have to swap out this engine from the core stage. There are four space shuttle main engines used on the SLS rocket. Finally, the "flash" observed in the engine section seems to be fairly normal. A visual inspection of the thermal blankets between engines shows some scorching, but this is expected. There were no indications of a fire, leak, or other issue. To repeat or not repeat? The published NASA summary does not discuss whether the agency will press ahead with a second test of the core stage. Prior to the test, NASA had hoped to run the engines for at least 250 seconds to obtain a full suite of data about the core stage performance. Obviously, they only ran the engines for about one-quarter of that time. A
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Bats are elusive little creatures, which makes them the perfect subjects for scientists to try out new animal tracking systems. This is great news for me specifically, because I love both bats and seeing images of animals with goofy little trackers on them. How can you look at these seals with ridiculous antenna hats and not laugh at least a little? One of the latest innovations in tracking wearables is the dulog system, a wireless sensor network built by biologist Simon Ripperger and engineer Niklas Duda, which was put to the test in several bat-tracking studies over the past few years. Now that the dulog has proven its mettle with bats, which are tiny, nocturnal, and generally tough to observe, the pair believe it could be useful in monitoring all kinds of animals. “If your project can succeed with bats, it can probably work with most species,” says Ripperger in a recent Silicon Labs blog post. When he first got started in the bat-tracking business, he saw that his adviser was “essentially running behind bats, chasing them with an antenna.” I will be holding that image in my mind for a while, but Ripperger and Duda think the dulog’s tiny sensors will make animal studies easier — less chasing required. A tiny common noctule bat wearing the latest in sensor fashion. Image: dulog The data collected with dulog tags can be downloaded remotely, meaning after the initial attachment, scientists don’t have to wrangle animals to retrieve data from their tags. They’re also smaller and lighter than current GPS tracking systems that ena
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the real cloud was inside us all along — Join Sean Gallagher, Dell's Ivan Nekrasov, and me on January 20 at 3:15pm Eastern! If you're in IT, you probably remember the first time you walked into a real data center—not just a server closet, but an actual raised-floor data center, where the door wooshes open in a blast of cold air and noise and you're confronted with rows and rows of racks, monolithic and gray, stuffed full of servers with cooling fans screaming and blinkenlights blinking like mad. The data center is where the cool stuff is—the pizza boxes, the blade servers, the NASes and the SANs. Some of its residents are more exotic—the Big Iron in all its massive forms, from Z-series to Superdome and all points in between. For decades, data centers have been the beating hearts of many businesses—the fortified secret rooms where huge amounts of capital sit, busily transforming electricity into revenue. And they're sometimes a place for IT to hide, too—it's kind of a standing joke that whenever a user you don't want to see is stalking around the IT floor, your best bet to avoid contact is just to badge into the data center and wait for them to go away. (But, uh, I never did that ever. I promise.) But the last few years have seen a massive shift in the relationship between companies and their data—and the places where that data lives.
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Short selling strategy guides — New board members and a massive short squeeze cause stratospheric short-term growth. Enlarge / When will this stock [game]stop rising?Aurich LawsonNine months ago, GameStop stock bottomed out at $2.80 a share, a reflection of the myriad problems facing the retailer specifically and brick-and-mortar game retail as a whole. As of Tuesday morning, though, that stock price is hovering around $40 a share (peaking at $44.74 as of this writing), with the vast majority of those gains coming in the last couple of weeks. Is GameStop really worth up to 16 times as much as it was back in April? Is the company's ambitious turnaround plan finally (and suddenly) turning things around? Is GameStop roaring its way back to the nearly $10 billion market cap it enjoyed at the height of the Wii phenomenon? Probably not. Analysts suggest the recent surge in GameStop's stock price is the result of a massive short squeeze bubble that will pop eventually. But beyond the sky-high valuations of recent weeks, analysts also suggest there's some reason to believe GameStop's long-term health is more robust than last year's stock doldrums suggest. Here comes Cohen To understand GameStop's current stock market run, you have to go back to August, when investor Ryan Cohen bought in to a roughly 10 percent ownership stake in the retailer. Cohen is best known as the founder of pet food superstore Chewy.com, which sold to PetSmart for $3.35 billion in 2017. Since that sale, Cohen has tended to invest his billions in big, safe stocks like Apple and Wells Fargo, so his major investment in the much riskier GameStop attracted notice. Since August, Cohen has bought even more GameStop shares, and he and two former Chewy executives have been named to the company's board of directors. That gives Cohen, along with fellow activist investors from Hestia, the potential capability to steer the company in a new direction. And Cohen hasn't been shy about identifying what he sees as the problems for the company. "GameStop's challenges stem from internal intransigence and an unwillingness to rapidly embrace the digital economy," Cohen wrote in a bold, italicized, underlined, and all-caps portion of a November SEC filing. "GameStop's challenges stem from internal intransigence and an unwillingness to rapidly embrace the digital economy" The company has to "promptly pivot from a brick-and-mortar mindset to a technology-driven vision," he continued. "If GameStop takes practical steps to cut its excessive real estate costs and hire the right talent, it will have the resources to begin building a powerful e-commerce platform that provides competitive pricing, broad gaming selection, fast shipping, and a truly high-touch experience that excites and delights customers." Even as GameStop's earnings reports continue to be uninspiring, Cohen's bold talk about a new, less physical path forward for GameStop got some investors excited. "[Cohen's involvement] has given the market confidence that this profit will be spent wisely t
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Citrix has confirmed plans to buy Wrike, a project management and team-based collaboration tool, for $2.25bn. While the move is dwarfed by Salesforce's $28bn takeover of hipster chat and collaboration darling Slack, the purchase will see the combination serving over 400,000 customers over 140 countries. The all-cash deal is expected to close later this year, and has received unanimous sign-off from directors in both camps. Founded in 2006, Wrike is a relative veteran of SaaS-based project management. It includes cloud-based content creation tools, like those from Hubspot, while other features focus on keeping projects on track, similar to what you'd expect from Trello or Zenkit. Unlike many of its competitors, Wrike hasn't yet been absorbed into a larger corporate behemoth (as was the case with Trello, bought by Atlassian in 2017), nor has it gone public, as Hubspot did back in 2014. It remains privately held, albeit with enterprise IT investment firm Vista Equity Partners holding the majority of shares. Previous investors include Bain Capital Ventures and Scale Venture Partners, with Wrike raising $26m across two rounds, according to Crunchbase. According to financial disclosures, Wrike ended 2020 with over $140m in "recurring" revenue. Citrix expects revenues at its latest purchase to hit between $180m and $190m this year. With Wrike, Citrix plans to sell into more areas of the enterprise, seeing its products reach marketing and project management as well as the IT furrow it is more accustomed to. The buy is the largest in the history of the virtualization company. The announcement was made as Citrix unveiled its latest set of results [PDF], which showed revenues for the company's fourth calendar quarter flat year-on-year at $810m, although calendar year 2020 as a whole was up 8 per cent $3.236bn. While a little disappointing considering the shift to remote working, the mix of those revenues changed markedly, with SaaS and other subscriptions growing from $113m and $80m in Q4 2019 to $150m and $191m respectively in the same period of last year. Product & licenses fell to $54m from $177m and support & services dropped to $415m from $439m. For the year, SaaS and other subscriptions came in at $541m and $574m, rising 38 per cent and 121 per cent respectively. Product & licenses was $444m, down 24 per cent and support & services came down 6 per cent to $1.678bn. Divisionally, the Workspace unit turned over $591m in sales in Q4, up 5 per cent and generated revenue of $2.4bn for the year, up 13 per cent. App Delivery and Security fell 11 per cent in Q4 to $189m and was down 4 per cent for 2020 to $721m. Citrix recorded a reduced profit for the year of $504.4m versus $681.8m in the prior year, largely due to a rise in operating expenses and a one-off tax benefit in the prior fiscal. Citrix's cloud productivity roster is fairly shallow when compared to some rivals. Its flagshi
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I picked up a new MacBook Air with Apple’s M1 chip, and I’ve absolutely loved it so far. It’s really speedy and the battery is fantastic. But I’ve been dealing with one nagging issue. Every once in a while, for reasons that I haven’t been able to figure out, a screensaver will suddenly take over the entire computer — despite the fact that I never use a screensaver. And frustratingly, the screensaver renders my laptop inoperable until I completely close the screen and reopen it. It seems I’m not the only one seeing this bug, according to this MacRumors article. Others have shared similar issues with M1-equipped MacBook Airs, Pros, and Minis on MacRumors’ forums, Reddit (in
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Brave Software on Tuesday plans to release an update of its Brave browser that implements support for the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS), a peer-to-peer hypermedia protocol for storing and sharing data over a distributed network. IPFS support, which arrives in v1.19, allows Brave users to access IPFS resources using an ipfs:// URI, either through its embedded gateway service or by installing a full IPFS node, which enables the hosting of IPFS-accessible content. Brave claims to be the first widely used browser to implement native IPFS support; Opera for Android did so in March, 2020, though it relies on a gateway – a clo
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Brave has just taken a step towards supporting a decentralized web, by becoming the first browser to offer native integration with a peer-to-peer networking protocol that aims to fundamentally change how the internet works. The technology is called IPFS (which stands for InterPlanetary File System), a relatively obscure transport protocol that promises to improve on the dominant HTTP standard by making content faster to access and more resilient to failure and control. This explainer from TechCrunch offers a good overview of how the protocol works. But here’s the short version: While HTTP is designed for browsers to access information on central servers, IPFS accesses it on a network of
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All five seasons of The Muppet Show will stream on Disney Plus beginning February 19th, Disney announced today. With the addition, Disney Plus is now home to nearly every Muppets title — except two. While Disney owns the rights to The Muppet Show, Muppets Most Wanted, The Muppet Movie, Muppet Treasure Island, The Muppet Christmas Carol, The Muppets, and The Great Muppet Caper, all of which are streaming on Disney Plus, The Muppets Take Manhattan and Muppets from Space are owned by Sony. As such, Disney can’t host the entire Muppet movie collection. Disney will also make the fourth and fifth seasons of the series, previously never available to purchase through home video offerings, av
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iFixit’s long in the making AirPods Max teardown is finally complete, giving an exhaustive look at the internals of Apple’s debut over-ear headphones and an idea of how easy they are to repair. iFixit even went as far as to teardown Sony’s WH-1000XM4 and Bose’s NC 700 headphones for comparison. Until now, iFixit has refused to grant Apple a single repairability point for any of its AirPods, but the AirPods Max buck the trend with a surprisingly high score of six out of ten. Why so high? Well, for starters, its ear cushions attach via magnets, making them easy to swap and replace when they inevitably get worn out. There are also plenty of internal components held together with scr
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Amazon-backed electric vehicle startup Rivian has raised another $2.65 billion, bolstering its position as one of the most well-funded EV startups in the world. The investment round was led by T. Rowe Price and included Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund, Fidelity Management and Research Company, and investment firms Coatue and D1 Capital Partners, along with “several other existing and new investors,” according to the startup. It’s hard to say how much Rivian has in the bank, given that it has spent a lot already to hire a massive team while also developing at least three vehicles that we know of. But after this new funding round, the EV startup’s war chest likely rivals that of Chi
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