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.

Feds issue emergency order for agencies to patch critical Windows flaw

ArsTechnica - Mon, 09/21/2020 - 3:13pm
Close-up photograph of computer networking components.

Enlarge (credit: Sebastian Kahnert/picture alliance via Getty Images)

The US Department of Homeland Security is giving federal agencies until midnight on Tuesday to patch a critical Windows vulnerability that can make it easy for attackers to become all-powerful administrators with free rein to create accounts, infect an entire network with malware, and carry out similarly disastrous actions.

Zerologon, as researchers have dubbed the vulnerability, allows malicious hackers to instantly gain unauthorized control of the Active Directory. An Active Directory stores data relating to users and computers that are authorized to use email, file sharing, and other sensitive services inside large organizations. Zerologon is tracked as CVE-2020-1472. Microsoft published a patch last month.

An unacceptable risk

The flaw, which is present in all supported Windows server versions, carries a critical severity rating from Microsoft as well as a maximum of 10 under the Common Vulnerability Scoring System. Further raising that stakes was the release by multiple researchers of proof-of-concept exploit code that could provide a roadmap for malicious hackers to create working attacks.

Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

T-Mobile amassed “unprecedented concentration of spectrum,” AT&T complains

ArsTechnica - Mon, 09/21/2020 - 12:50pm
A bird sits on top of a T-Mobile sign outside a mobile phone store,

Enlarge / A pigeon rests on a T-Mobile logo outside a mobile phone store, operated by Deutsche Telekom AG, in Munich, Germany, on Monday, Feb. 6, 2017. (credit: Getty Images | Bloomberg)

AT&T and Verizon are worried about T-Mobile's vast spectrum holdings and have asked the Federal Communications Commission to impose limits on the carrier's ability to obtain more spectrum licenses. Verizon kicked things off in August when it petitioned the FCC to reconsider its acceptance of a new lease that would give T-Mobile another 10MHz to 30MHz of spectrum in the 600MHz band in 204 counties. AT&T followed that up on Friday with a filing that supports many of the points made in Verizon's petition.

T-Mobile was once the smallest of four national carriers and complained that it didn't have enough low-band spectrum to match AT&T and Verizon's superior coverage. But T-Mobile surged past Sprint in recent years and then bought the company, making T-Mobile one of three big nationwide carriers along with AT&T and Verizon. T-Mobile also bolstered its low-band spectrum holdings by dominating a 600MHz auction in 2017.

"The combination of Sprint and T-Mobile has resulted in an unprecedented concentration of spectrum in the hands of one carrier," AT&T wrote in its filing to the FCC on Friday. "In fact, the combined company exceeds the Commission's spectrum screen, often by a wide margin, in Cellular Market Areas representing 82 percent of the US population, including all major markets."

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Everyone loves the new couple on the block in first WandaVision trailer

ArsTechnica - Mon, 09/21/2020 - 12:37pm

Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany reprise their roles as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch and Vision, respectively, in Marvel’s spinoff series WandaVision.

If you were watching the virtual 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards last night, you no doubt caught the debut of a new trailer for WandaVision, the first standalone series to be released in Phase Four of the MCU. The studio offered a sneak peek last year during D23 Expo 2019, Disney's annual fan extravaganza. Lacking any actual footage, that teaser was just snippets of The Dick van Dyke Show interspersed with snippets of the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) from the various MCU films. At the time, I was skeptical of the concept, but this new trailer is quite promising and gives me hope that Marvel can pull it off.

WandaVision is meant to be a kind of sitcom/epic superhero mashup, with Kat Dennings reprising her role as Darcy from the Thor films, alongside Randall Park reprising his Ant Man and the Wasp role as FBI agent Jimmy Woo. Kathryn Hahn (Crossing Jordan) will play a "nosy neighbor," and Teyonah Parris (Mad Men) plays a grown-up Monica Rambeau, daughter of Carol Danvers' BFF Maria Rambeau, introduced in Captain Marvel. Within the MCU timeline, it takes place after the events of Avengers: Endgame, and its events will directly tie in to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, currently slated for a 2022 release. 

Per the official description: "WandaVision will follow the story of Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany's superhero characters, the Scarlet Witch and Vision. The series is a blend of classic television and the Marvel Cinematic Universe in which Wanda Maximoff and Vision—two super-powered beings living idealized suburban lives—begin to suspect that everything is not as it seems."

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Everything we know so far about Oracle not actually buying TikTok

ArsTechnica - Mon, 09/21/2020 - 12:10pm
A casually dressed young woman shrugs while holding the logos of two competing companies.

Enlarge / ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images)

It was a weird weekend to end a weird summer for one of the country's most popular social media apps, TikTok. First, in August, the Trump administration threatened to ban TikTok unless it found a US buyer. Then last weekend, one-time dark horse Oracle emerged victorious in a federally mandated contest to acquire TikTok. Except, it turns out, Oracle isn't actually acquiring TikTok at all—and Oracle and TikTok's current parent company, ByteDance, disagree on who is going to be in charge.

If you're confused, you're in good company. Here's our attempt to lay out everything we know about TikTok, Oracle, and their mysterious deal so far.

What is TikTok? Who owns it?

TikTok is an extremely popular short-form video app used worldwide. The app appeared in its current incarnation after its parent company, Beijing-based ByteDance, acquired US startup Musical.ly in 2017 and integrated it with its existing TikTok product under the TikTok name.

Read 36 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Nikola founder abruptly resigns amid fraud allegations

ArsTechnica - Mon, 09/21/2020 - 11:42am
A casually dressed man gives a presentation in front of a semitruck.

Enlarge / Nikola Chairman Trevor Milton unveils the Nikola One truck in December 2016. (credit: Nikola)

Trevor Milton, founder of electric truck startup Nikola, resigned his job as executive chairman of the company on Sunday—effective immediately. Nikola's stock plunged after the news and is currently trading at around $28 per share, which is down 18 percent.

Milton's resignation came just 10 days after a bombshell research report revealed that Milton wasn't telling the truth in 2016 when he unveiled the company's first product, the Nikola One, and claimed that it "fully functions." The report from short-selling firm Hindenburg Research also revealed that a Nikola One truck that appeared to be driving down a highway under its own power in a 2018 promotional video was actually rolling down a hill. Nikola acknowledged last week that it never got the Nikola One working.

The Hindenburg revelations put Nikola's management under immense pressure. Both the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice have reportedly opened investigations into possible fraud by the company. Over the weekend, Milton offered (voluntarily, he says) to resign as executive chairman, and Nikola's board accepted his offer. Milton will also relinquish his seat on Nikola's board.

Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

A German rocket startup seeks to disrupt the European launch industry

ArsTechnica - Mon, 09/21/2020 - 11:23am

Some space entrepreneurs in Germany believe that the European launch industry—which principally consists of the state-backed Arianespace corporation—is ripe for disruption.

The industry, they say, mirrors that of the United States more than a decade ago, before SpaceX emerged onto the scene and began to disrupt the near-monopoly held by United Launch Alliance. SpaceX successfully launched its first Falcon 1 rocket in 2008, and the company followed that with the Falcon 9 booster less than two years later. Since then, it has forced competitors to innovate and put downward pressure on launch prices.

"Europe is where the US launch industry was 15 years ago," said Daniel Metzler, co-founder and chief executive of the Munich-based Isar Aerospace rocket company, in an interview.

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

This Porsche plug-in SUV is a pricey dayglo antidepressant on wheels

ArsTechnica - Mon, 09/21/2020 - 10:11am

The car you picture when someone says "Porsche" probably isn't an SUV. Yet these days, most of the vehicles that Porsche builds are SUVs. Last year, it sold nearly 100,000 Macans and more than 92,000 Cayennes. Add up all the 911s and 718s and Panameras across the same 12 months and you only get 88,000.

I offer these numbers to say that SUVs keep the lights on at Porsche. And when the company's engineers are called upon to build one, they make sure that it's packed full of Porsche attitude. It's the same attitude that has spent decades proving that, actually, you can put the engine behind a car's rear wheels and still make a safe-handling sports car. A Macan or a Cayenne has to also be a Porsche as much as it is an SUV. If you just want German luxury, you'll find it cheaper—and more luxurious—at Audi, BMW, or Mercedes-Benz.

But if cheap German luxury is what you're looking for, the 2020 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid Coupé is definitely not the SUV for you. It's the most expensive Porsche SUV you can buy—a base price of $164,400 before one hits the notoriously expansive, expensive options list. It's an awful lot of money for a car, whichever way you slice it.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Proposal would give EU power to boot tech giants out of European market

ArsTechnica - Mon, 09/21/2020 - 7:34am
Belgien, Brussel, Europaische Kommission, Berlaymont-Gebaude, Europa-Flaggen.

Enlarge / Belgien, Brussel, Europaische Kommission, Berlaymont-Gebaude, Europa-Flaggen. (credit: Westend61 | Getty Images)

The EU wants to arm itself with new powers to take on big technology companies, including the ability to force them to break up or sell some of their European operations if their market dominance is deemed to threaten the interests of customers and smaller rivals.

EU Commissioner Thierry Breton told the Financial Times that the proposed remedies, which he said would only be used in extreme circumstances, also include the ability to exclude large tech groups from the single market altogether.

In addition, Brussels is considering a rating system that would allow the public and stakeholders to assess companies’ behavior in areas such as tax compliance and the speed with which they take down illegal content.

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Microsoft purchases Bethesda Softworks in industry-changing acquisition [Updated]

ArsTechnica - Mon, 09/21/2020 - 6:35am
Just a few of the gaming franchises Microsoft now owns.

Enlarge / Just a few of the gaming franchises Microsoft now owns.

Major game franchises like Doom, Fallout, The Elder Scrolls, and more will soon be Microsoft properties. That's because the Xbox and Windows maker announced Monday morning it is buying the corporate parent of Bethesda Softworks, ZeniMax Media.

"Like us, Bethesda are passionate believers in building a diverse array of creative experiences, in exploring new game franchises, and in telling stories in bold ways," Microsoft wrote in its announcement. "All of their great work will of course continue and grow and we look forward to empowering them with the resources and support of Microsoft to scale their creative visions to more players in new ways for you."

From many platforms to one?

Bethesda has confirmed an acquisition price tag of $7.5 billion. For context, that's three times the price Microsoft paid for Minecraft maker Mojang back in 2014. Mojang, of course, continued to be a multiplatform developer after its Microsoft acquisition—a decision that led to the odd sight of Microsoft publishing a Mario-themed "Mash-Up Pack" for Minecraft on Nintendo consoles.

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Here’s how DOE’s first crop of risky energy tech has done

ArsTechnica - Sun, 09/20/2020 - 7:30am
Two seated men in suits have a discussion on a stage.

Enlarge / Former Energy Secretary Ernst Moniz speaks at an ARPA-E event in 2016. (credit: DOE / Flickr)

In 2009, the US Department of Energy started funding energy research through the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (or ARPA-E) program. The goal was to take more risks than traditional federal efforts and help new renewable energy technologies get off the ground. Private investment had been flagging due to slow returns, but the huge societal benefit of clean energy was deemed to justify government support. The hope was that the funding could accelerate the timeline for new technology to mature to the point that private investors would find the technology more attractive.

At least, that was the idea. A team led by University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Anna Goldstein figured that ARPA-E’s first class is now old enough to check in on. She and her colleagues looked at a limited sample of 25 startups and found some interesting ways in which these companies seem to have beaten out the competition—and some in which they haven’t.

Best in class

The 25 startups selected in ARPA-E’s first round were compared to several other groups of companies that were born around the same time. The first group consists of the 39 companies that applied for ARPA-E funding and didn’t get it but still received an “encouraged” runner-up rating. In the next group are the 70 companies that received funding from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) with related government stimulus spending. And finally, there are almost 1,200 other clean energy startups that found their funding elsewhere.

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Court blocks Trump’s WeChat ban from taking effect today

ArsTechnica - Sun, 09/20/2020 - 7:10am
There both is and is not a ban in effect on WeChat.

Enlarge / There both is and is not a ban in effect on WeChat. (credit: Budrul Chukrut | SOPA Images | LightRocket | Getty Images)

A federal judge in California put a temporary halt on the White House's efforts to ban WeChat inside the United States, preventing that ban from going into effect at midnight tonight.

"The plaintiffs have shown serious questions going to the merits of their First Amendment Claim," US Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler wrote in her ruling (PDF) early this morning.

The ruling came in response to a lawsuit filed by a group of WeChat users inside the US. The group, organized as the US WeChat Users Alliance, argued in their complaint that the ban violated their First and Fifth Amendment rights as well as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the Administrative Procedures Act. The group also argues that the law cited in the executive order banning WeChat does not in fact give President Donald Trump the authority claimed in the order.

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Turn up the sport, turn down the utility: The 2020 BMW X5 M and X6 M

ArsTechnica - Sun, 09/20/2020 - 7:00am

Yes. Another SUV review. Sorry, but couples, families, singles, alt-lifestylers, outdoor-seekers, bankers, lawyers, doctors, musicians, actors, and even website developers are continuing to drive the SUV segment into utter dominance. And it doesn't matter where you live: the sales figures in Europe are accelerating more swiftly to the SUV camp than in North America, where it's dominated for many years already. This is not a value judgment on the goodness or evil of SUVs. It just is. And consider this: of BMW's 15 different lines of automobiles, seven of them are SUVs. Mercedes has a staggering eight lines of SUVs.

But BMW is nothing if not a company aware of and amenable to splitting niches, be they product lines (like all those hatchback variations on sedans) or ultra-high-performance flavors of big SUVs. That's where we pick up this particular train coming into the station: the 2020 X5 M and the related X6 M. These two add the engine and legs of a thoroughbred sports sedan to the sport-utility, resulting in SUVs with not just room and girth but also abilities in the twisties and the vast open road on the order of a top sports sedan.

The new Ms snarl with 600hp (447kW) from their twin-turbo, 4.4L V8 engines, though that figure can be boosted even more to 617hp (460kW) with the lily-gilding optional Competition Package. (We can't help thinking that any 5,200-plus-pound SUV wearing a badge that reads "Competition" is just a trifle incongruous, unless it's an eating competition.) And yes, that's damn near twice the output of the base X5 and X6 powertrain (in the US market), which puffs out a comparatively paltry 335hp (250kW), though no one would could legitimately call that engine deficient.

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Traders set to don virtual reality headsets in their home offices

ArsTechnica - Sun, 09/20/2020 - 6:15am
Businessman using virtual reality headset

Enlarge (credit: Thomas Barwick / Getty Images)

Spare bedrooms and living rooms could soon become part of vibrant trading floors as one of the world’s biggest investment banks considers providing staff with augmented reality headsets.

UBS has experimented with issuing its London-based traders with Microsoft HoloLenses, which would allow staff to recreate the experience of working in a packed trading floor without leaving their homes.

Banks have been desperate to bring workers back to the office, especially for regulatory-sensitive roles such as trading, but surges in coronavirus infection rates have meant many staff are wary about using public transport.

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The Android 11 interview: Googlers answer our burning questions

ArsTechnica - Sun, 09/20/2020 - 5:30am
 Googlers answer our burning questions

(credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images)

We've established a bit of a tradition here at Ars. Every year at Google I/O, we have a sit-down talk to learn more about Android directly from the people that make it. Of course, this year, just about every major event was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, nothing is really normal, and Google I/O never happened.

We can still do interviews over the Internet though! So while it happened later in the year than normal, we were still able to hold our annual chat with some of the most important Googlers at Android HQ: Dave Burke, Android's VP of Engineering, and Iliyan Malchev, Principal Engineer at Android and the lead of Project Treble.

We came prepped with questions about the more mysterious corners of Android 11, which actually led to a lot of interesting talk about the future. You'll learn about a coming re-write of the Bluetooth stack, and there's lots of talk about modularity and easy updating (like plans will hopefully, someday, allow you to update the Linux kernel and developer APIs as easily as you download an app update).

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Companies can track your phone’s movements to target ads

ArsTechnica - Sun, 09/20/2020 - 3:57am
Companies can track your phone’s movements to target ads

Enlarge (credit: Qilai Shen | Bloomberg | Getty Images)

Google and Apple have taken steps this year they say will help users shield themselves from hundreds of companies that compile profiles based on online behavior. Meanwhile, other companies are devising new ways to probe more deeply into other aspects of our lives.

In January, Google said it would phase out third-party cookies on its Chrome browser, making it harder for advertisers to track our browsing habits. Publishers and advertisers use cookies to compile our shopping, browsing, and search data into extensive user profiles. These profiles reflect our political interests, health, shopping behavior, race, gender, and more. Tellingly, Google will still collect data from its own search engine, plus sites like YouTube or Gmail.

Apple, meanwhile, says it will require apps in a forthcoming version of iOS to ask users before tracking them across services, though it delayed the effective date until next year after complaints from Facebook. A poll from June showed as many as 80 percent of respondents would not opt in to such tracking.

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Trump approves Oracle, TikTok deal “in concept”

ArsTechnica - Sat, 09/19/2020 - 3:19pm
It's official... kind of.

Enlarge / It's official... kind of. (credit: Chesnot | Getty Images)

President Donald Trump has reportedly granted his personal approval of Oracle's proposal to invest in TikTok, moving the entire saga one step closer to an end.

The president told reporters this afternoon he approved the deal "in concept," according to Bloomberg News.

"I have given the deal my blessing," Trump said. "I approved the deal in concept."

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Grab one of our favorite budget gaming headsets for $30 today

ArsTechnica - Sat, 09/19/2020 - 1:44pm
Grab one of our favorite budget gaming headsets for $30 today

Enlarge (credit: Ars Technica)

Today's Dealmaster is headlined by a nice discount on HyperX's Cloud Stinger gaming headset, which is currently available for just under $30 at Amazon. Normally retailing in the $50 range, this discount marks the second-best price we've seen outside of a brief drop to $26 this past March.

The Cloud Stinger was our top budget pick in a past guide to the best gaming headsets. It's an old-fashioned wired pair that HyperX has sold for several years, but it continues to provide a commendable blend of comfort and audio quality at a wallet-friendly price. It has a lightweight design that doesn't clamp too harshly on the head. Its ear cups are spacious enough, its headband is highly adjustable, and it cushions both with ample memory foam. It doesn't have an especially detailed or balanced sound profile, but its hyped-up bass and treble give it an exciting quality and bring a little more oomph to in-game effects. Its built-in mic is a plus, too, lending voices greater clarity than a typical wireless headset.

The Cloud Stinger is still a budget-level gaming headset, so it has its share of shortcomings. That microphone isn't detachable, nor is the included 3.5mm cable. Its earcups don't fold up for easier storage. A simple volume slider is all it has in terms of built-in controls. And its plastic-heavy build makes it feel like an inexpensive device. Still, the Cloud Stinger does well where it matters most. Because it's a wired headset, it'll have no problem working with any console or PC, either, the upcoming PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X included. It's a solid value at its usual going rate, so if you're in the market for a new headset on the cheap, this deal is well worth a look.

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A fond farewell to the weird and wonderful Nintendo DS

ArsTechnica - Sat, 09/19/2020 - 8:30am
A fond farewell to the weird and wonderful Nintendo DS

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson)

In December 2004, my boyfriend showed up at my apartment door carrying a box. "I brought you a present!" he said, clearly excited. "Open it!"

'Tis the season, I thought, unwrapping it. I turned the box around. "A... Nintendo... DS? Is this, like... a Game Boy kind of thing?"

As I fought my way through layers of cardboard and plastic to open my new toy, he pulled a matching unit out of his own messenger bag, opened it up, and began to explain. I had never owned a portable console—I'd barely ever even owned a regular console; I was a lifelong PC gamer—and while I tried to greet the gift with good cheer, I bluntly had no idea why on Earth he had given it to me.

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Spelunky 2 game review: Roguelike perfection

ArsTechnica - Sat, 09/19/2020 - 7:00am
Ana (center) is the star of <em>Spelunky 2</em>, and she's on a search for her adventuring parents after they abandoned her to look for treasure on the Moon.

Enlarge / Ana (center) is the star of Spelunky 2, and she's on a search for her adventuring parents after they abandoned her to look for treasure on the Moon. (credit: Mossmouth)

My recent work at Ars Technica has mostly revolved around high-end gadgets like VR headsets, GPUs, and next-gen consoles. It's fun stuff.

But while swimming through embargoed hardware and frantic news announcements, I keep coming back to a single video game well outside the "next-generation" mold.

Spelunky 2 is likely the most "dated" game I'll slap the "Ars Approved" sticker onto in 2020. The adjective "dated" works in part because the game's success builds largely, and loudly, upon the foundation of 2012's 2D smash Spelunky HD... and that title builds upon the 16-bit genius of 2009's freeware original. (Which you can still download! For free! Right next to its source code!)

A certain class of gamer will hear that "Spelunky 2 is everything good about Spelunky HD, only better" and wish to hear nothing more. That's fair (especially for players who will hold out for the game's launch on PC in two weeks, after its timed PlayStation 4 exclusivity runs out). The charm of Spelunky 2, like its predecessor, comes from how it cleverly shakes a cup full of gameplay and level-construction elements, dumps them onto a table, and shouts "Yahtzee!" as it surprises you again and again. (To be clear, in this game's case, "Yahtzee" is a synonym for "You died!" You will die repeatedly in Spelunky 2.)

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Review: Netflix debuts two solid German offerings with Biohackers and Freaks

ArsTechnica - Sat, 09/19/2020 - 6:30am
Luna Wedler (left) plays a young medical student with a secret in in the German drama <em>Biohackers</em>, and Cornelia Gröschel (right) stars as a diner waitress who discovers she has super strength in the German film, <em>Freaks: You're One of Us</em>. Both are currently streaming on Netflix.

Enlarge / Luna Wedler (left) plays a young medical student with a secret in in the German drama Biohackers, and Cornelia Gröschel (right) stars as a diner waitress who discovers she has super strength in the German film, Freaks: You're One of Us. Both are currently streaming on Netflix. (credit: Netflix/Sean Carroll)

As someone who enjoys discovering lesser-known films and TV series from around the world, I applaud Netflix's continued commitment to bringing a wide range of international fare to its platform—whether it's South Korean zombie horror/period drama, modern Norwegian reworkings of Norse mythology, Arabic supernatural YA dramas, or Belgian sci-fi thrillers. And the excellent sci-fi series Dark recently wrapped a mind-bending third and final season on Netflix.

If that's left you peckish for more German Netflix fare, you might check out two recent debuts: a sci-fi thriller series, Biohackers, about an ambitious young medical student seeking revenge on her mentor for the scientific sins of the past; and a film called Freaks: You're One of Us, about a diner waitress who discovers she has a superpower—and she's not the only "freak" with a special gift. Neither even comes close to the multilayered conceptual level of Dark, alas, but both provide well-executed, solid entertainment—and you won't need a chart of multiple timelines to follow the plot.

(Some spoilers below, but no major reveals.)

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