Feed aggregator

  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.

Review: The role-playing game’s afoot in charming black comedy Murder Bury Win

ArsTechnica - 3 hours 15 min ago

Three friends trying to create their own RPG game about getting away with murder get more than they bargained for in the new black comedy, Murder Bury Win.

Three friends get more than they bargained for when they think they are about to hit the gaming big-time in Murder Bury Win, a charming black comedy that proved to be a fan favorite at last year's Austin Film Festival. It certainly won't dislodge 1985's cult classic, Clue, as the best movie yet made about a board game ("Flames... on the side of my face!"), but it's very solid indie fare, and a lot of fun.

(Some spoilers below, but no major reveals.)

Per the official synopsis:

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Rivian’s electric truck features include air compressor and AC outlets

ArsTechnica - 3 hours 52 min ago

Electric vehicle startup Rivian is moving closer to production of its innovative-looking trucks and SUVs. The first launch edition R1T pickup trucks are expected in June, with series production models arriving at the start of 2022. And even though I'm not really a truck person, I remain as fascinated now by this new entrant into the most quintessentially American part of the vehicle market as I was after first seeing one in 2019.

Ahead of those initial deliveries, the company reached out to share some of info about the R1T, which looks like it will offer Swiss Army knife-levels of versatility to its owners. It's about the size you'd expect of a full-size pickup truck: 217.1 inches (5.51 m) long, 81.8 inches (2.08 m) wide, and between 72.1-78.3 inches (1.83-1.99 m) tall depending on whether it's in kneel mode (ground clearance: 8.7 inches/0.22 m) or off-road mode (ground clearance: 14.9 inches/0.38 m).

The big lockable cargo area under the hood (also known as a frunk) can stash 11 cubic feet (311 L) of stuff. And at the rear, you'll find a tow hook capable of pulling up to 11,000 lbs (4,989 kg). It lives beneath an aerodynamic cover when not in use.

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Apple brass discussed disclosing 128-million iPhone hack, then decided not to

ArsTechnica - 5 hours 30 min ago
Apple brass discussed disclosing 128-million iPhone hack, then decided not to

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

In September 2015, Apple managers had a dilemma on their hands: should, or should they not, notify 128 million iPhone users of what remains the worst mass iOS compromise on record? Ultimately, all evidence shows, they chose to keep quiet.

The mass hack first came to light when researchers uncovered 40 malicious App Store apps, a number that mushroomed to 4,000 as more researchers poked around. The apps contained code that made iPhones and iPads part of a botnet that stole potentially sensitive user information.

128 million infected.

An email entered into court this week in Epic Games’ lawsuit against Apple shows that, on the afternoon of September 21, 2015, Apple managers had uncovered 2,500 malicious apps that had been downloaded a total of 203 million times by 128 million users, 18 million of whom were in the US.

Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

It began as an AI-fueled dungeon game. Then it got much darker

ArsTechnica - 10 hours 51 min ago
It began as an AI-fueled dungeon game. Then it got much darker

Enlarge (credit: AI Dungeon)

In December 2019, Utah startup Latitude launched a pioneering online game called AI Dungeon that demonstrated a new form of human-machine collaboration. The company used text-generation technology from artificial intelligence company OpenAI to create a choose-your-own adventure game inspired by Dungeons & Dragons. When a player typed out the action or dialog they wanted their character to perform, algorithms would craft the next phase of their personalized, unpredictable adventure.

Last summer, OpenAI gave Latitude early access to a more powerful, commercial version of its technology. In marketing materials, OpenAI touted AI Dungeon as an example of the commercial and creative potential of writing algorithms.

Read 20 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Windows 10 “Sun Valley” will do away with Windows 95 era icons

ArsTechnica - Fri, 05/07/2021 - 2:15pm

Back in January, we reported on Sun Valley—a coming "sweeping visual rejuvenation" of Windows 10's user interface. This week, Windows Latest leaked new detail about the upcoming makeover: There's a new set of icons in C:\Windows\System32\Shell32.dllreplacing classic Windows icons that date back to the Windows 95 era.

The changes are surprisingly subtle. Most of the new icons are extremely similar to the nearly 30-year old versions they're replacing. Elderly symbols such as floppy disks and floppy disk drives persist in the new icon set—the visual style is updated on these venerable references, but that's about it.

Ironically, in the case of the floppy disk related icons, the equipment looks older. The drives in the older icons took styling cues from then-current 1990s-era equipment, but the replacement icons look more like equipment from the late 1970s or very early 1980s.

Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Sony faces lawsuit over alleged “monopoly pricing” of PlayStation downloads

ArsTechnica - Fri, 05/07/2021 - 1:19pm
A gift card like this goes less far because of Sony's monopolistic control of the PlayStation downloads market, according to a new lawsuit.

Enlarge / A gift card like this goes less far because of Sony's monopolistic control of the PlayStation downloads market, according to a new lawsuit.

In Apple's opening statements in the Epic Games v. Apple trial on Monday, the company argued that "the law protects Apple's choice to have a closed system, just as it protects Sony and Nintendo." A new proposed class-action lawsuit against Sony's alleged monopoly control over the market for downloadable PlayStation games seems set to test that argument in the near future.

The lawsuit, filed in Northern California federal court (first reported on by Bloomberg News and obtained by Polygon), alleges that Sony's monopoly control over the PlayStation Store leads to "supracompetitive prices for digital PlayStation games, which are... [priced] significantly higher than they would be in a competitive retail market for digital games."

No more retail code competition

Microsoft and Nintendo also maintain digital storefronts that provide the only legitimate way to download software on the Xbox and Switch platforms, of course. But the lawsuit says the PlayStation Store differs from its console competition for a couple of reasons.

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

96% of US users opt out of app tracking in iOS 14.5, analytics find

ArsTechnica - Fri, 05/07/2021 - 11:59am
The Facebook iPhone app asks for permission to track the user in this early mock-up of the prompt made by Apple.

Enlarge / The Facebook iPhone app asks for permission to track the user in this early mock-up of the prompt made by Apple. (credit: Apple)

It seems that in the United States, at least, app developers and advertisers who rely on targeted mobile advertising for revenue are seeing their worst fears realized: Analytics data published this week suggests that US users choose to opt out of tracking 96 percent of the time in the wake of iOS 14.5.

When Apple released iOS 14.5 late last month, it began enforcing a policy called App Tracking Transparency. iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV apps are now required to request users' permission to use techniques like IDFA (ID for Advertisers) to track those users' activity across multiple apps for data collection and ad targeting purposes.

The change met fierce resistance from companies like Facebook, whose market advantages and revenue streams are built on leveraging users' data to target the most effective ads at those users. Facebook went so far as to take out full-page newspaper ads claiming that the change would not just hurt Facebook but would destroy small businesses around the world. Shortly after, Apple CEO Tim Cook attended a data privacy conference and delivered a speech that harshly criticized Facebook's business model.

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Ajit Pai promised cheaper Internet—real prices rose 19 percent instead

ArsTechnica - Fri, 05/07/2021 - 11:50am
Illustration of fiber Internet lines with dollar signs.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | MirageC)

The average US home-Internet bill increased 19 percent during the first three years of the Trump administration, disproving former Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai's claim that deregulation lowered prices, according to a new report by advocacy group Free Press. For tens of millions of families that aren't wealthy, "these increases are felt deeply, forcing difficult decisions about which services to forgo so they can maintain critical Internet access services," Free Press wrote.

The 19 percent Trump-era increase is adjusted for inflation to match the value of 2020 dollars, with the monthly cost rising from $39.35 in 2016 to $47.01 in 2019. Without the inflation adjustment, the average household Internet price rose from $36.48 in 2016 to $46.38 in 2019, an increase of 27 percent.

The nominal increase in each of the three years was between 7.27 percent and 9.94 percent, while inflation each year ranged from 1.81 percent to 2.44 percent.

Read 24 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Tesla Autopilot director contradicts Musk’s self-driving timeline

ArsTechnica - Fri, 05/07/2021 - 11:38am
A casually dressed man appears flip during a presentation.

Enlarge / Elon Musk in 2020. (credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / Getty)

In January's Tesla earnings call, an analyst asked Elon Musk about his belief that Tesla would achieve Level 5 autonomy—jargon for a car that can drive itself in all situations—by the end of the year.

"I'm confident based on my understanding of the technical roadmap and the progress that we're making between each beta iteration," Musk said.

But six weeks later, Tesla's director of Autopilot software, CJ Moore, contradicted Musk in a March meeting with California regulators. That's according to a memo obtained by transparency site Plainsite via a freedom of information request.

Read 15 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Google wants people to use 2FA, so it’s just going to turn it on for them

ArsTechnica - Fri, 05/07/2021 - 9:35am
Cartoon image of laptop and a hand holding a smartphone illustrate multifactor authentication.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

Enabling two-factor authentication (2FA) on a Google account requires someone who is proactive about account security. Users have to log in, dig through the settings, and tick the right boxes. Of the billions of Google accounts out there, the uptake on 2FA is probably not that high, and Google is tired of it.

Yesterday, for "World Password Day," Google announced a very bold move for account security. "Soon," the company says, it will start "automatically enrolling" users in 2FA, provided their accounts are appropriately configured. Google doesn't go into detail about what "appropriately configured" means, but it sounds like anyone who can have 2FA enabled will have 2FA enabled soon. Google's preferred 2FA method is the "Google Prompt," a notification Google pushes to your phone when you're attempting to sign in. Rather than requiring you to type in a clunky code, the Google Prompt provides a simple "yes/no" check, making 2FA easier than ever.

On Android, Google Prompt is a full-screen pop-up built into every device as part of Google Play Services, so that's easy. On iOS, Google Prompt requests for your account can be received by the Google Search app, the Gmail app, or the dedicated Google Smart Lock app. It sounds like everyone meeting these requirements will soon be enrolled in 2FA.

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Facebook and Big Pharma exploited disease “awareness” for personalized marketing

ArsTechnica - Fri, 05/07/2021 - 9:13am
High angle close-up view still life of an opened prescription bottles with pills and medication spilling onto ae background of money, U.S. currency with Lincoln Portrait.

Enlarge (credit: Getty | YinYang)

Pharmaceutical companies spend around $6.5 billion a year on advertising, and even though Facebook prohibits the use of “sensitive health information” in ad targeting, about $1 billion of that ad spending ends up in the companies' pockets. Big Pharma, it turns out, has found some creative ways to work within Facebook’s rules.

Facebook’s ad targeting allows drug companies to zero-in on likely patients by aiming not for their conditions but for Facebook-defined interests that are adjacent to their illnesses, according to a report by The Markup. The site used a custom web browser to analyze what ads Facebook served to 1,200 people and why, and it found that Big Pharma frequently used illness “awareness” as a proxy for more sensitive health information.

The range of treatments advertised to potential patients ran the gamut. Novartis used “National Breast Cancer Awareness Month” to sell Facebook users on Piqray, a breast cancer pill that lists for $15,500 for a 28-day supply. AstraZeneca ran ads for Brilinta, a $405-per-month blood thinner, based on whether Facebook thought a user was interested in “stroke awareness.” And GlaxoSmithKline shows ads for Trelegy, a $600-per-month inhaler, if someone was flagged by Facebook for “chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD] awareness.”

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Did our ancestors kill all the island megafauna?

ArsTechnica - Fri, 05/07/2021 - 8:59am
The bones of a pygmy mammoth.

The bones of a pygmy mammoth. (credit: National Park Service/Justin Tweet)

Humans haven't always been great to nature. But at least our ancestors may not have killed off island megafauna in the distant past, so that's something. New research, published in the Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences, suggests that there's not enough data to say that hominids in the Pleistocene—2.6 million to 11,700 years ago—were responsible for most of the extinctions on the islands they traveled to.

Overkill

The hypothesis that homo sapiens' distant ancestors killed off the world’s myriad ancient megafauna (not just on islands) dates back to 1966, with geoscientist Paul Martin's "overkill" proposal. But the idea has been floating around for far longer than the formal proposal. According to Julien Louys—associate professor of paleontology at Griffiths University in Australia and an author of the new research—the question of what caused the death of the world's megafauna dates back to the 19th century.

“It has, in certain circles, become very polarized,” Louys told Ars.

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IBM creates the world’s first 2 nm chip

ArsTechnica - Fri, 05/07/2021 - 4:42am

On Thursday, IBM announced a breakthrough in integrated circuit design: the world's first 2 nanometer process. IBM says its new process can produce CPUs capable of either 45 percent higher performance or 75 percent lower energy use than modern 7 nm designs.

If you've followed recent processor news, you're likely aware that Intel's current desktop processors are still laboring along at 14 nm, while the company struggles to complete a migration downward to 10 nm—and that its rivals are on much smaller processes, with the smallest production chips being Apple's new M1 processors at 5 nm. What's less clear is exactly what that means in the first place.

Originally, process size referred to the literal two-dimensional size of a transistor on the wafer itself—but modern 3D chip fabrication processes have made a hash of that. Foundries still refer to a process size in nanometers, but it's a "2D equivalent metric" only loosely coupled to reality, and its true meaning varies from one fabricator to the next.

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Unsolved mysteries of the Warhammer 40k universe with loremaster Dan Abnett

ArsTechnica - Fri, 05/07/2021 - 4:30am

Shot by Adam Lance Garcia and edited by Justin Sloan. Click here for transcript. (video link)

It has been a while since we were last able to do an episode of "Unsolved Mysteries," our series wherein we ask creators to take us on a journey into the deeper and more mysterious aspects of their created universes (our most recent episode was about the unsolved mysteries of Mortal Kombat). But we had an opportunity fall into our laps that was just too good to pass up, though unlike our past couple of episodes, this one isn't (entirely) about video games.

This time, we're sitting down with author Dan Abnett to discuss some unsolved mysteries of the dark far-future Warhammer universe—and man, did he deliver.

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Why hasn’t Waymo expanded its driverless service? Here’s my theory

ArsTechnica - Fri, 05/07/2021 - 3:45am
A Waymo-branded minivan prowls suburban streets.

Enlarge (credit: Sundry Photography / Getty Images)

Last October, Waymo did something remarkable: the company launched a fully driverless commercial taxi service called Waymo One. Customers in a 50-square-mile corner of suburban Phoenix can now use their smartphones to hail a Chrysler Pacifica minivan with no one in the driver's seat.

And then... nothing. Seven months later, Waymo has neither expanded the footprint of the Phoenix service nor has it announced a timeline for launching in a second city.

It's as if Steve Jobs had unveiled the iPhone, shipped a few thousand phones to an Apple Store in Phoenix, and then didn't ship any more for months—and wouldn't explain why.

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What cats’ love of boxes and squares can tell us about their visual perception

ArsTechnica - Thu, 05/06/2021 - 2:45pm
Like most cats, nothing delights Ariel more than an empty box in which to lounge. This might tell us something about feline visual perception of shapes and contours, per a new study in Applied Animal Behaviour Science.

Enlarge / Like most cats, nothing delights Ariel more than an empty box in which to lounge. This might tell us something about feline visual perception of shapes and contours, per a new study in Applied Animal Behaviour Science. (credit: Sean Carroll)

It is a truth universally acknowledged—at least by those of the feline persuasion—that an empty box on the floor must be in want of a cat. Ditto for laundry baskets, suitcases, sinks, and even cat carriers (when not used as transport to the vet). This behavior is generally attributed to the fact that cats feel safer when squeezed into small spaces, but it might also be able to tell us something about feline visual perception. That's the rationale behind a new study in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science with a colorful title: "If I fits I sits: A citizen science investigation into illusory contour susceptibility in domestic cats (Felis silvers catus)."

The paper was inspired in part by a 2017 viral Twitter hashtag, #CatSquares, in which users posted pictures of their cats sitting inside squares marked out on the floor with tape—kind of a virtual box. The following year, lead author Gabriella Smith, a graduate student at Hunter College (CUNY) in New York City, attended a lecture by co-author Sarah-Elizabeth Byosiere, who heads the Thinking Dog Center at Hunter. Byosiere studies canine behavior and cognition, and she spoke about dogs' susceptibility to visual illusions.  While playing with her roommate's cat later that evening, Smith recalled the Twitter hashtag and wondered if she could find a visual illusion that looked like a square to test on cats.

Smith found it in the work of the late Italian psychologist and artist Gaetano Kanizsa, who was interested in illusory (subjective) contours that visually evoke the sense of an edge in the brain even if there isn't really a line or edge there. The Kanizsa square consists of four objects shaped like Pac-Man, oriented with the "mouth" facing inward to form the four corners of a square. Even better, there was a 1988 study that used the Kanizsa square to investigate the susceptibility of two young female cats to illusory contours. The study concluded that, yes, cats are susceptible to the Kanizsa square illusion, suggesting that they perceive subjective contours much like humans.

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9,000 fliers may have had reused swabs jammed up their noses in Indonesia

ArsTechnica - Thu, 05/06/2021 - 1:10pm
A gloved hand rams a cotton swab into an unhappy person's face hole.

Enlarge / BANGKA BELITUNG ISLANDS, INDONESIA - DECEMBER 21, 2020: Health workers carry out a rapid antigen test on a passenger at Deapti Amir Airport, Pangkal Pinang City. (credit: Getty | Roni Bayu)

Since last December, more than 9,000 airline passengers who took a coronavirus rapid test as they flew out of Kualanamu International Airport in Medan, Indonesia, may have been tested by having previously used cotton swabs jammed into their noses.

Medan police arrested four workers and a local manager of the major pharmaceutical company Kimia Farma, which was working in conjunction with the airport to help perform the tests. The Medan-based Kimia Farma employees were allegedly washing and repacking cotton swabs for the tests while pocketing up to 1.8 billion rupiah (~$125,000), local police said.

Airline passengers in Indonesia are required to present a negative COVID-19 test result before boarding, and many opt for the convenience of being tested at the airport. Since the alleged swab scam began in December, Kimia Farma workers were testing between 100 and 200 passengers a day at the airport, some with fresh tests and others with tests that apparently involved reused swabs.

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Paramount+ lifts ViacomCBS to 36 million subs, will stream sci-fi movie Infinite

ArsTechnica - Thu, 05/06/2021 - 12:50pm
Two cool bros chat in a hangar in front of private jet.

Enlarge / Actor Mark Wahlberg confers with director Antoine Fuqua on the set of Infinite. (credit: Mark Wahlberg)

On the heels of revealing that ViacomCBS' streaming platforms have reached just shy of 36 million subscribers, streaming service Paramount+ has announced that it will stream at least one original movie each week, including the long-delayed Mark Wahlberg and Chiwetel Ejiofor sci-fi film Infinite.

In March, the streaming service CBS All Access was rebranded as Paramount+, and it got a huge injection of new content directly resulting from the merger between parent company CBS and Viacom. ViacomCBS, the resulting new conglomerate, owns a vast swath of Hollywood brands and studios, including CBS, Showtime, MTV, BET, Comedy Central, Paramount Pictures, and others. The desire to show all of that content under one streaming platform's roof was reportedly a key driver of the merger.

Given that CBS All Access was one of traditional Hollywood's first forays into a streaming service to compete with previous platforms from tech companies like Netflix and Amazon, the service represented a big shift. Since then, we've been wondering whether the rebranding has propped up the streaming service, which before the merger was best known for its various Star Trek reboot series.

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World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade re-returns on June 1, requires “cloning”

ArsTechnica - Thu, 05/06/2021 - 12:35pm

After World of Warcraft successfully relaunched its original "vanilla" client in 2019, fans began wondering whether the WoW Classic universe would eventually march toward expansion packs—like the unofficial WoW Vanilla community had already done. That question was answered earlier this year with news that the official WoW Classic line would indeed adopt 2007's Burning Crusade expansion sometime in 2021.

Blizzard firmed up this plan's timeline on Thursday, confirming that WoW Classic's Burning Crusade transition will kick off on June 1. Just like with 2019's launch of WoW Classic, anyone who pays for an ongoing WoW subscription will get full access to WoW Burning Crusade at no additional cost.

Today's news also clarifies the game's march toward "Classic but newer"—it understands that some players may not want to stomp toward new zones like the Outland or new character species like the Blood Elf and Draenei. If you've already been playing WoW Classic since its 2019 launch, you'll be prompted starting on May 18 to peruse a new "cloning" feature, designed to let you do something with your current characters. The default is to pack that character up and move it to a newer Burning Crusade server, thus deleting its pre-expansion state. You can also lock an existing character so that it is not moved forward to a Burning Crusade server, or you can split the difference and have two versions of a beloved character: one on an older server, trapped forever in a pre-expansion bubble, and one on a newer server, ready to march alongside the ever-moving tides of darkness.

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Today’s best tech deals: New iPad Pro, Amazon devices, and more

ArsTechnica - Thu, 05/06/2021 - 12:09pm
 New iPad Pro, Amazon devices, and more

Enlarge (credit: Ars Technica)

Today's Dealmaster includes a nifty $50 discount on the new 11-inch Apple iPad Pro at Walmart, with the 128GB and 256GB versions of the premium tablet marked down to $749 and $849, respectively. Walmart says orders will ship on May 24.

While our review of the new slates is still forthcoming, the latest iPad Pro comes with the M1 chip that has impressed us in other recent Apple devices. It also has a more future-proof Thunderbolt port and an ostensibly improved front-facing camera. The 11-inch model here does not come with the upgraded Mini LED display of the 12.9-inch version, however. In any case, this will likely continue to be a more niche device for power users, while the iPad Air should remain an appealing compromise for consumers looking to pay a bit less. But if you're dead set on upgrading to Apple's top-end option, any savings might be worthwhile.

If you're not interested in shelling out that much for an iPad, our deals roundup also has discounts on various Amazon devices, including a much cheaper tablet in the Amazon Fire HD 8, as well as deals on Sony noise-canceling headphones, Roku streamers, a wide variety of video games, and much more. You can take a look at the full roundup below.

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