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.

COVID in children: Infections skyrocket 30X, now account for 30% of cases

ArsTechnica - Tue, 09/14/2021 - 10:15am
A health care worker administers a COVID-19 test to a child at the Austin Regional Clinic drive-thru vaccination and testing site in Austin, Texas, US, on Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021.

Enlarge / A health care worker administers a COVID-19 test to a child at the Austin Regional Clinic drive-thru vaccination and testing site in Austin, Texas, US, on Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021. (credit: Getty | Bloomberg)

COVID-19 cases in children have risen 30-fold since late June and are now at record highs, with nearly 500,000 new child cases reported in the past two weeks, according to the latest data released by the American Academy of Pediatrics on Monday. Pediatric cases have "increased exponentially," the AAP said in a statement.

The rise coincides with a dramatic surge in overall COVID-19 transmission driven by the hypertransmissible delta variant. But with more adults vaccinated, children are getting hit harder in this wave than ever before, and they make up a larger and larger share of the cases.

At this point, the US has recorded 5.3 million cumulative cases in children, accounting for 15.5 percent of total cases in the pandemic. That percentage has risen steadily during the current surge, up from 14.2 percent at the end of June.

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

The redesigned $499 iPad mini finally catches up with the times

ArsTechnica - Tue, 09/14/2021 - 10:13am

After years of being stuck with the same look and features, Apple's iPad mini will finally get a major redesign akin to last year's iPad Air update, the company announced today. The tablet's screen size gets a bump from 7.9 to 8.3 inches and includes a new A15 Bionic processor that Apple says is "up to 80% faster" than the A12 chip in the old iPad mini 5. But the redesign also comes with a price hike—the new iPad mini starts at $499 for a Wi-Fi model with 64GB of storage, $100 more than the previous model.

Like other recent iPads and iPhones, the iPad mini drops the home button to make more room on the front of the device for a larger, almost edge-to-edge screen. However, the device does not feature Face ID like the iPad Pro. Rather, it follows the 2020 iPad Air in featuring a TouchID fingerprint reader on the power button for authentication. It also leaves behind Apple's long-standing proprietary Lightning port in favor of the industry-standard USB-C—a change that also came to other recent iPad redesigns. The flat edges of the tablet bring the new mini's design in line with the iPad Air 4 and post-2018 iPad Pros. The design also enables Apple Pencil 2 compatibility.

An overview of the new iPad mini's features.

An overview of the new iPad mini's features. (credit: Apple)

Internally, the A15 chip combines a six-core CPU (that's two high-performance cores and four low-power efficiency cores) that Apple says is 40% faster than the A12 and a 5-core GPU that the company says is 80% faster than the A12. Both the rear and front-facing cameras get significant upgrades—the 8MP rear camera in the mini 5 is bumped up to 12MP in the new model, and the front-facing camera gets a 12MP resolution bump and support for the face-and-body-tracking "Center Stage" feature from the 2021 iPad Pros. Support for 5G and Wi-Fi 6 round out the connectivity features.

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Apple refreshes entry-level $329 iPad with faster chip, 64GB of storage

ArsTechnica - Tue, 09/14/2021 - 10:08am
Apple refreshes entry-level $329 iPad with faster chip, 64GB of storage

Enlarge (credit: Apple)

Apple announced a modest refresh of its entry-level iPad at the company's product event on Tuesday. The tablet's design hasn't changed, but the new model swaps out the A12 chip for the newer A13, which Apple says is "up to 20%" faster than the previous chip. The new iPad costs $329, the same price as the previous model, despite the fact that the storage has been bumped from 32GB to a much more reasonable 64GB.

Apple is also bringing a handful of iPad Pro features down to the cheapest iPad. Its new 12MP front-facing camera supports the "Center Stage" feature that can shift the camera's perspective as you move around. While the rear camera is apparently unchanged, both the front and rear cameras will benefit from the upgraded image signal processor (ISP) in the A13. The tablet's 10.2-inch screen also supports True Tone, which changes the screen's color temperature to match the lighting in the room you're in.

An overview of the new iPad's features.

An overview of the new iPad's features. (credit: Apple)

The new $329 iPad will be available for preorder today and will be available on September 24. The Wi-Fi + Cellular model of the tablet starts at $459, and a 256GB model will be available for $479 with Wi-Fi and $609 with cellular.

Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Liveblog: All the news from Apple’s “California Streaming” event

ArsTechnica - Tue, 09/14/2021 - 9:35am
The splash image and header copy on the event invitation Apple emailed to the press.

Enlarge / The splash image and header copy on the event invitation Apple emailed to the press. (credit: Apple)

At 1 pm EDT on September 14, 2021, Apple will begin streaming its first product launch event since WWDC this June. Apple executives and product managers are expected to take the virtual stage to reveal new products and talk about what consumers should expect from the company in the coming weeks.

As usual, we'll be liveblogging the event and all the announcements as they unfold.

As we noted in our roundup shortly after the date was announced, the focus will almost certainly be on a new lineup of iPhones to follow up last year's iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max. We're expecting phones with overall similar designs and with the same screen sizes: 5.4- and 6.1-inch versions of the standard flagship iPhone, and 6.1- and 6.7-inch version of the Pro.

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From modern ECUs to dual-clutch transmissions, this race car proved it all

ArsTechnica - Tue, 09/14/2021 - 9:28am

Trying to crown the world’s greatest race car is a futile endeavor, as everyone has a different definition of “greatest.” But if you were making a shortlist for such an award, Porsche’s 956 and 962 would have to make the cut.

When the 956 first debuted with the introduction of Group C racing in 1982, it was a departure from Porsche's previous Le Mans-winning prototypes. From the 917 (which gave Porsche its first overall win in 1970) to the 936 (which won in 1976, 1977, and 1981), all of Porsche's cars used a relatively fragile tubeframe chassis clad in fiberglass bodywork.

But the 956 exchanged this old way of doing things for a much more up-to-date approach. The chassis this time was an aluminum monocoque with much greater stiffness—and much better driver safety.

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Cruis’n Blast review: ’90s arcade racing, supercharged for the modern era

ArsTechnica - Tue, 09/14/2021 - 9:00am

Cruis'n Blast's placement on my list of favorite video games of 2021 should not be taken as a universal recommendation. As a painstakingly authentic refresh of the dated Cruis'n arcade-racing series, it's a simple game, and in many ways, it lags behind other arcade racers that have come and gone in the past few years.

Still, if you're looking for sheer, unadulterated, all-ages racing fun, especially on the underpowered Nintendo Switch, you should set your GPS coordinates to the bonkers racetracks and Burnout-leaning smashy-smash of Cruis'n Blast as soon as possible.

Cruis’n through history: A primer

Cruis'n emerged in the '90s as one of the only major Western racing series in arcades, years after Sega and Namco unleashed their own dazzling 3D racers. This Midway series didn't really compete with the likes of Daytona USA or Ridge Racer, as it was marked by wimpy tech and simple mechanics. Instead, 1994's Cruis'n USA kept things loud and silly in a shameless, drive-straight-ahead manner. The result was, depending on where you lived, a pizza parlor mainstay—and one that rode Nintendo's coattails, since it was emblazoned with "Nintendo Ultra 64" logos before that console launched with a different name.

Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Apple patches “FORCEDENTRY” zero-day exploited by Pegasus spyware

ArsTechnica - Tue, 09/14/2021 - 8:44am
Apple patches “FORCEDENTRY” zero-day exploited by Pegasus spyware

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson | Getty Images)

Apple has released several security updates this week to patch a "FORCEDENTRY" vulnerability on iOS devices. The "zero-click, zero-day" vulnerability has been actively exploited by Pegasus, a spyware app developed by the Israeli company NSO Group, which has been known to target activists, journalists, and prominent people around the world.

Tracked as CVE-2021-30860, the vulnerability needs little to no interaction by an iPhone user to be exploited—hence the name "FORCEDENTRY."

Discovered on a Saudi activist’s iPhone

In March, researchers at The Citizen Lab decided to analyze the iPhone of an unnamed Saudi activist who was targeted by NSO Group's Pegasus spyware. They obtained an iTunes backup of the device, and a review of the dump revealed 27 copies of a mysterious GIF file in various places—except the files were not images.

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Security researchers at Wiz discover another major Azure vulnerability

ArsTechnica - Tue, 09/14/2021 - 8:00am
Storm clouds have been photoshopped to bring lightning down on computer components.

Enlarge / This isn't how the OMIGOD vulnerability works, of course—but lightning is much more photogenic than maliciously crafted XML. (credit: Aurich Lawson | Getty Images)

Cloud security vendor Wiz—which recently made news by discovering a massive vulnerability in Microsoft Azure's CosmosDB-managed database service—has found another hole in Azure.

The new vulnerability impacts Linux virtual machines on Azure. They end up with a little-known service called OMI installed as a byproduct of enabling any of several logging reporting and/or management options in Azure's UI.

At its worst, the vulnerability in OMI could be leveraged into remote root code execution—although thankfully, Azure's on-by-default, outside-the-VM firewall will limit it to most customers' internal networks only.

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Big ISPs fight to save exclusive wiring deals that limit choice in apartments

ArsTechnica - Tue, 09/14/2021 - 7:41am
A person's hand holding a bundle of coaxial cables.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | niknikon)

The cable lobby is trying to stop a possible ban on exclusive wiring deals between Internet providers and landlords, claiming that exclusive arrangements are "pro-competitive" even though they make it harder for new ISPs to provide service in multi-unit apartment and condo buildings.

The Federal Communications Commission last week sought public comment on how to promote competition in multiple tenant environments (MTEs), following a President Biden order that encouraged the FCC to "prevent ISPs from making deals with landlords that limit tenants' choices." The FCC technically bans exclusive agreements for TV and telecom services in multi-unit buildings, but it hasn't stamped out the problem in part because FCC rules allow deals that prevent new ISPs from using existing wiring. These wiring deals are sometimes exclusive to one ISP even when the wires are owned by the building owner and not being used.

The new FCC public notice asks whether the commission should "revisit its conclusion that exclusive wiring arrangements generally do not preclude access to new entrants and thus do not violate its rules." That conclusion was made in 2007 under a Republican majority. The FCC is now asking for public comment on whether exclusive wiring deals "inhibit entry by competing service providers" and on whether the deals have any benefits for tenants to outweigh the drawbacks.

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The second-gen Sonos Beam soundbar arrives with Dolby Atmos, $50 price hike

ArsTechnica - Tue, 09/14/2021 - 6:18am

Sonos on Tuesday announced a new model of its Beam smart soundbar.

The Sonos Beam (Gen 2), as it’s called, doesn’t change much from its three-year-old predecessor from a conceptual standpoint. Sonos is still positioning the device as a lower-cost and far more compact alternative to its higher-end Arc soundbar, one that’s better suited to smaller rooms or secondary TVs. It‘s virtually the same size as before (25.63 x 3.94 x 2.72 in. and 6.2 lbs.) with a nearly identical minimalist design, though the fabric-coated front of the first-gen model has been stripped away in favor of a naked, perforated plastic grille that wraps around the device. Sonos says the new grille will be easier to clean over time.

The big addition here is support for Dolby Atmos virtual surround sound. Notably, the Beam (Gen 2) uses the same internal acoustic architecture as before—including five class-D amplifiers, four mid-woofers, three passive radiators, and a center tweeter, but no up-firing speakers to physically create the illusion of audio “height” Atmos promises. But Sonos says the new model is equipped with a faster CPU, allowing it to improve the software that coordinates the soundbar’s audio output and steer it around a room. There are two new virtual "speaker arrays" for height and surround audio information; the setup will help Atmos content still sound as if it’s coming from above and around your head in addition to the usual left, center, and right channels.

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Tension over boosters rises as FDA regulators quit and publicly blast Biden’s plan

ArsTechnica - Mon, 09/13/2021 - 4:23pm
Words and symbols adorn a large outdoor sign.

Enlarge / The Food and Drug Administration headquarters in White Oak, Maryland. (credit: Getty | Congressional Quarterly)

Two leading vaccine regulators who had previously announced their resignations from the Food and Drug Administration have now come out against the Biden administration's plan to offer COVID-19 booster shots.

In a viewpoint article published in The Lancet on Monday, Marion Gruber, the outgoing director of the FDA's Office of Vaccines Research and Review (OVRR), and Phil Krause, the outgoing deputy director of the OVRR, argue against the current booster plans.

"Currently available evidence does not show the need for widespread use of booster vaccination," the pair, along with colleagues, conclude in the article. Even if there are benefits from boosters, the shots still carry risks, and any benefits "will not outweigh the benefits of providing initial protection to the unvaccinated," they write.

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LittleBigTrouble: Sony kills multiple games’ online service without notice

ArsTechnica - Mon, 09/13/2021 - 4:03pm
Cute promotional image for Little Big Planet.

Enlarge / Almost every LittleBigPlanet release just lost its online hub. (credit: Sony)

After a year marked by targeted hacks and unexplained downtime, the online service for four of Sony's LittleBigPlanet games—and arguably the heart of their "play.create.share" mantra—is no more. Announced in a tweet on its official Twitter account, online services across LittleBigPlanet Vita and the LittleBigPlanet trilogy for PS3 have been discontinued with no prior warning, citing issues of continued safety for its online fanbase.

For the uninitiated, the original 2008 LittleBigPlanet introduced a massively online concept of level creation and sharing. Series creator Media Molecule included incredibly robust creation tools that let fans transform the side-scrolling game into any number of incredible concepts, and that foundation grew as the series expanded from the PS3 generation to Vita and PS4.

But challenges to that creation toolbox started to spring up in November 2020 when several fans posted on Twitter that LBP.me—the series's social site that lets players browse or queue up every available user-made level across almost every release—stopped working. Meanwhile, social features in the game's older entries began experiencing related issues.

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PHP maintains an enormous lead in server-side programming languages

ArsTechnica - Mon, 09/13/2021 - 3:36pm
Ruby is the only server-side web language that experienced much growth over the last decade—and the closest remaining "threat" to PHP, despite having only 6.5 percent the presence.

Enlarge / Ruby is the only server-side web language that experienced much growth over the last decade—and the closest remaining "threat" to PHP, despite having only 6.5 percent the presence. (credit: w3techs)

The venerable web programming language PHP is a source of frequent complaints and frustration, but according to a report W3Techs released today, it doesn't seem to be going away any time soon.

W3Techs' web server survey looks for technologies in use by sites in Alexa's top 10 million list; today's report includes a year-on-year chart beginning with January 2010, running all the way through 2021. The survey only includes top sites not out of elitism, but as one part of its effort to avoid data-skewing returns from domain-parking services and spammers, which would otherwise dominate legitimate websites through sheer volume.

Within that dataset, the story told is clear. Apart from PHP—which held a 72.5 percent share in 2010 and holds a 78.9 percent share as of today—only one other server-side language ever broke a 10 percent share. That one competitor is ASP.NET, which held an impressive 24.4 percent share in 2010 but was down to 9.3 percent in January and 8.3 percent this month.

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Nikon Small World microscopy contest 2021: A few of our favorite images

ArsTechnica - Mon, 09/13/2021 - 2:09pm
Image of a green object next to the head of an insect.

Enlarge / A small cnidarian called a hydra (green) has attached itself to the cocoon of a caddisfly. (credit: Yen Fook Chew)

Microscopy is essential to many areas of science. We use it to look at everything from the small devices we fabricate to the tiny structures inside cells. And microscopy wouldn't function without input from many areas of science. Chemistry helps with stains, dyes, and sample preparation. Physics determines what's possible with different forms of optics. And fields like biology and geology tell us which samples can give us valuable information. Combined, these tools give us a nearly infinite suite of options for looking at the world of the small.

With the right choices among those options, a microscope can do far more than just advance science; it can create objects of art. Each year, when Nikon releases the results of its annual microscopy competition, we struggle for new superlatives to describe the images. This year is no exception. So rather than struggling with words, we'll get straight to the images.

The rock. We tend to think of microscopes as tools that examine living matter, revealing details that are critical to understanding cells and the organisms built from them. But chemicals and minerals also have features that aren't always visible to the naked eye and can be critical to their behavior as well. We've always loved close-ups of crystals and rocks, and this year's collection of images contains a surfeit of them.

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New drivers add performance-boosting memory-access feature to older AMD GPUs

ArsTechnica - Mon, 09/13/2021 - 1:43pm
Slides of the AMD Radeon RX 5700 series

Enlarge / The Radeon RX 5700 XT. (credit: AMD)

GPU driver releases normally aren't very newsworthy; they usually fix bugs, boost performance in some games, and add support for new GPUs. But owners of last-generation AMD Radeon RX 5000-series graphics cards should take note of today's Adrenalin 21.9.1 release. This update adds support for AMD's "Smart Access Memory" (SAM) feature for older GPUs. AMD says the feature can improve game performance by up to 15 percent in some games.

SAM support was previously restricted to the Radeon RX 6800 series (and Nvidia's GeForce RTX 3000 series, which support a mostly identical feature that Nvidia calls Resizable BAR). In addition to the right GPU and the right drivers, you'll also need to be running a supported processor on a supported chipset: either a 10th- or 11th-generation Intel Core CPU in a 400- or 500-series motherboard or a Ryzen 3000 or 5000-series CPU in a 400- or 500-series motherboard.

Whether you're talking about SAM or Resizable BAR, the different names all refer to the same PCI Express functionality. Normally, your computer's processor can only directly access 256MB of your GPU's video memory at a time, and the memory requires larger assets to be broken up into smaller chunks for transfer. Resizable BAR removes that limit and noticeably improves performance in some games. A TechSpot test of 36 games using an RX 6800 GPU and Ryzen 5950X processor observed an improvement of up to 20 percent depending on the game and the settings. For most games, though, performance improved by a much smaller amount or didn't improve at all. A few games even showed performance decreases with SAM enabled, though never by enough to make any games unplayable.

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Apple fixes security vulnerabilities in new versions of iOS, macOS, and watchOS

ArsTechnica - Mon, 09/13/2021 - 1:24pm
The back of the iPhone 12 mini

Enlarge / The iPhone 12 mini. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Today, Apple released new versions of its iOS and iPadOS 14, macOS Big Sur, and watchOS 7 operating systems. The updates hit just one day before Apple is expected to reveal its new iPhone and Apple Watch models and the release dates for iOS 15 and watchOS 8.

These updates are security-related across the board, and they add no new features or functionality.

Specifically, two main issues have been addressed across Apple's platforms, one with Core Graphics and the other with WebKit. In both cases, maliciously crafted content (PDFs or web content) could be used in arbitrary code execution. Apple also says these updates fix an issue that allowed attackers to bypass Apple protections intended to stop code execution via Messages.

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Leaked documents reveal the special rules Facebook uses for 5.8M VIPs

ArsTechnica - Mon, 09/13/2021 - 1:10pm
Close-up photograph of a man in a suit looking concerned.

Enlarge / Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. (credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Facebook had a problem on its hands. People were making posts that got caught in the company’s automated moderation system or were taken down by its human moderators. The problem wasn’t that the moderators, human or otherwise, were wrong to take down the posts. No, the problem was that the people behind the posts were famous or noteworthy, and the company didn’t want a PR mess on its hands.

So Facebook came up with a program called XCheck, or cross check, which in many instances became a de facto whitelist. Over the years, XCheck has allowed celebrities, politicians, athletes, activists, journalists, and even the owners of "animal influencers" like “Doug the Pug” to post whatever they want, with few to no consequences for violating the company’s rules.

“For a select few members of our community, we are not enforcing our policies and standards,” reads an internal Facebook report published as part of a Wall Street Journal investigation. “Unlike the rest of our community, these people can violate our standards without any consequences.”

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Biden’s FTC pick is a privacy champion who wants limits on facial recognition

ArsTechnica - Mon, 09/13/2021 - 12:21pm
Illustration of a woman's eye being scanned with technology.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Yuichiro Chino)

President Joe Biden will reportedly nominate Georgetown law professor and privacy researcher Alvaro Bedoya to the Federal Trade Commission. Bedoya is the founding director of Georgetown Law's Center on Privacy & Technology, where he has focused heavily on facial recognition and other forms of surveillance.

Bedoya co-authored a 2016 report about "unregulated police face recognition in America" after a "year-long investigation that revealed that most American adults are enrolled in a police face recognition network and that vendor companies were doing little to address the race and gender bias endemic to face scanning software," according to Bedoya's bio on the Georgetown Law website. The investigation led to Congressional hearings as well as "a slate of laws reining in the technology across the country, and the first-ever comprehensive bias audit of the technology by the National Institute of Standards & Technology."

Before starting the privacy center at Georgetown, Bedoya was chief counsel for the US Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law. Bedoya's nomination hasn't been officially announced but was reported today by media outlets including Axios and The Washington Post. Biden's announcement is expected to be made today, the Post wrote.

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Jeremy Renner passes down his bow in fun, holiday-themed trailer for Hawkeye

ArsTechnica - Mon, 09/13/2021 - 11:15am

I'll admit that I wasn't exactly excited about Marvel's upcoming Hawkeye spinoff series on Disney+. It seemed like an odd choice, given the character's relatively minor role in the various Avengers films. But the studio released the official trailer this morning, and I might just change my mind. Hawkeye looks like a fun, comedy-action holiday romp and will debut on the streaming platform just in time for the Thanksgiving/Christmas season.

Per the official premise:

Former Avenger Clint Barton has a seemingly simple mission: get back to his family for Christmas. Possible? Maybe with the help of Kate Bishop, a 22-year-old archer with dreams of becoming a super hero. The two are forced to work together when a presence from Barton’s past threatens to derail far more than the festive spirit.

Obviously, Jeremy Renner is back as Clint Barton/Hawkeye, as are the actors who played his three children, Cooper (Ben Sakamoto), Lila (Ava Russo), and Nathaniel (Cade Woodward). And thanks to that Black Widow end-credits scene where Yelena (Florence Pugh) meets Valentina (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) at Natasha's grave, we know that she's been manipulated into blaming Clint for her foster sister's death and may well be seeking revenge. Pugh's inclusion in the cast list pretty much confirms that.

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Ireland fails to enforce EU law against Big Tech

ArsTechnica - Mon, 09/13/2021 - 10:04am
Ireland fails to enforce EU law against Big Tech

Enlarge (credit: NurPhoto | Getty Images)

Ireland is failing to apply the EU’s privacy laws to US Big Tech companies, with 98 percent of 164 significant complaints about privacy abuses still unresolved by its regulator.

Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, and Twitter all have their European headquarters in Dublin, making Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner the lead EU regulator responsible for holding them to the law.

But the Irish DPC has been repeatedly criticized, both by privacy campaigners and by other EU regulators for failing to take action.

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