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 'PST/-8.0/no 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 'PST/-8.0/no 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 'PST/-8.0/no 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 'PST/-8.0/no 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 'PST/-8.0/no 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 'PST/-8.0/no 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 'PST/-8.0/no 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 'PST/-8.0/no 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 'PST/-8.0/no 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 'PST/-8.0/no 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 'PST/-8.0/no 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 'PST/-8.0/no 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 'PST/-8.0/no 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 'PST/-8.0/no 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 'PST/-8.0/no 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 'PST/-8.0/no 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 'PST/-8.0/no 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 'PST/-8.0/no 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 'PST/-8.0/no 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 'PST/-8.0/no 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 'PST/-8.0/no 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 'PST/-8.0/no 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 'PST/-8.0/no 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 'PST/-8.0/no 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 'PST/-8.0/no 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 'PST/-8.0/no 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 'PST/-8.0/no 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 'PST/-8.0/no 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 'PST/-8.0/no 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 'PST/-8.0/no 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 'PST/-8.0/no 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 'PST/-8.0/no 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 'PST/-8.0/no 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 'PST/-8.0/no 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 'PST/-8.0/no 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 'PST/-8.0/no 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 'PST/-8.0/no 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 'PST/-8.0/no 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 'PST/-8.0/no 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 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.

Decade-old volume indicator gets a new look in latest Windows 11 preview

ArsTechnica - Thu, 01/13/2022 - 9:59am
The humble volume indicator, reimagined for Windows 11.

Enlarge / The humble volume indicator, reimagined for Windows 11. (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

Improving Windows 11's visual and functional consistency is shaping up to be a major priority for Microsoft this year, as evinced by the continued updates to core apps like Notepad, Paint, and Media Player, as well as the ongoing effort to move advanced settings out of the old Windows 7-era Control Panels and into the modern Settings app. Restoring some flexibility to redesigned areas of the OS like the Start menu and Taskbar has also been a focus.

The latest Windows 11 Insider build released to Dev channel users continues this work, updating the overlays for volume, brightness, and other settings to match Windows 11's more rounded look. The new indicators pop up in the bottom center of your screen rather than the top left, they will respect your light or dark mode setting, and, like the Start menu and taskbar, they use Mica styling to match the color of your desktop wallpaper.

The other changes in this preview build are pretty small; "Apps and Features" in the Windows + X shortcut menu has been relabeled as "Installed apps," the Voice Access accessibility feature can be pinned to the Taskbar and Start menu, and the Clock app can be uninstalled. Exciting times!

Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Dropbox starts testing native Apple M1 support

ArsTechnica - Thu, 01/13/2022 - 9:48am
The front of a closed, silver-colored laptop on a table

Enlarge / The 2021 MacBook Pro needs an emulator to run Dropbox's app. (credit: Samuel Axon)

A recently released beta version of Dropbox's app for macOS has added support for Apple Silicon in the current MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, 24-inch iMac, and Mac Mini. The release is the first step toward fulfilling the company's promise to offer native support for M1-based Macs.

Apple debuted its M1 silicon in 2020. Until now, Dropbox did not offer a native version of its file-hosting service for computers using Apple's chips, frustrating some professional users who rely on and pay for the program for work.

Without the beta, M1 users are required to use Rosetta 2, software that translates apps with x86_64 instructions for Apple's Arm-based silicon, in order to use the Dropbox app. Running Rosetta 2, however, can generally affect battery life, memory, and performance. For most users, Rosetta 2 is a sufficient solution for running Intel-based applications. And it's possible that some lesser-known apps will never be transitioned to M1 systems at all.

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

SpaceX abandons Starlink plan that Amazon objected to, but fight isn’t over

ArsTechnica - Thu, 01/13/2022 - 9:39am
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk appears on a giant video screen while he discusses Starlink.

Enlarge / SpaceX CEO Elon Musk discusses Starlink at Mobile World Congress Barcelona on June 29, 2021 . (credit: Getty Images | NurPhoto )

SpaceX has abandoned a Starlink plan that Amazon objected to during a high-profile battle at the Federal Communications Commission last year and wants to launch its second-generation broadband satellites starting in March. But the dispute isn't over, as Amazon says that SpaceX's latest filing "raises a number of issues that call for analysis and a potential response" and asked the FCC for a month-long delay before comments are due.

In August 2021, Amazon satellite-broadband subsidiary Kuiper Systems objected to Starlink proposing "two different configurations for the nearly 30,000 satellites of its Gen2 System, each of which arranges these satellites along very different orbital parameters." Amazon said that proposing "two mutually exclusive configurations" violates an FCC rule and would force competitors to do double the work to evaluate the potential for interference.

SpaceX said it pitched two possible configurations in case its preferred setup doesn't work out. The FCC rule doesn't specifically prohibit SpaceX's approach but says that an application will be rejected if it "is defective with respect to completeness of answers to questions, informational showings, internal inconsistencies, execution, or other matters of a formal character."

Read 15 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Report: Sony will use the PS4 to fill the PS5 supply gap

ArsTechnica - Thu, 01/13/2022 - 9:25am
picture of Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series S

Enlarge / L-R: Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series S. (credit: Sam Machkovech)

With the PlayStation 5 still hard to find at retail amid worldwide semiconductor shortages, Sony has canceled plans to discontinue the PS4, extending the system's life through 2022.

That's according to a Bloomberg News report citing "people familiar with the matter" who say that Sony told assembly partners that it had planned to discontinue the PS4 at the end of 2021. Instead, the company now plans this year to produce a million units of the older console, which uses less-advanced chips that are easier to source. Sony could adjust that number based on demand.

For context, the PS4 sold 1.7 million units in the first nine months of 2021, according to financial reports, compared to 8.9 million PS5 units in that same time.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

TSMC invests in new capacity despite forecasts chip demand will ease

ArsTechnica - Thu, 01/13/2022 - 7:17am
Fabrication plant

Enlarge / TSMC Fab 16. (credit: TSMC)

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company plans to raise its capital expenditure by almost a third this year as the world’s largest contract chipmaker defies analyst warnings of softening demand for technology gadgets.

TSMC expects capital expenditure to reach $44 billion this year, a 32 percent increase from the $30 billion spent in 2021 and triple the amount in 2019, the company said on Thursday.

The push underscores the outsized role semiconductors are coming to play in goods far beyond classical electronics products, from cars to factory equipment. It also reflects TSMC’s dominance of global chip manufacturing.

Read 17 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Falcon 9 completes launch, has now lifted 550 satellites into orbit [Updated]

ArsTechnica - Thu, 01/13/2022 - 6:46am
The Transporter-3 mission launches on Thursday morning from Florida.

Enlarge / The Transporter-3 mission launches on Thursday morning from Florida. (credit: Trevor Mahlmann)

10:40 am ET Update: With clearing skies and moderate winds, SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket rideshare mission safely launched into space on Thursday. The first stage then sent its upper stage and a payload with 105 small satellites on its way into low Earth orbit. The Falcon 9 first stage made a smooth landing back near its launch site.

Remarkably, this single Falcon 9 rocket first stage has now launched 550 satellites into orbit, as well as one Cargo Dragon and one Crew Dragon. It has flown, on average, every two months since its first launch. It would seem that rocket re-use is more than a fad.

Original post: SpaceX will seek to launch its "Transporter-3" mission into low Earth orbit from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on Thursday morning.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Immune system vs. virus: Why omicron had experts worried from the start

ArsTechnica - Thu, 01/13/2022 - 5:30am
Illustration of antibodies responding to an infection of SARS-CoV-2.

Enlarge / Illustration of antibodies responding to an infection of SARS-CoV-2. (credit: Getty Images/Kateryna Kon/Science Photo Library)

Right from omicron's first description, researchers were concerned about its variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Looking over the list of mutations it carried, scientists could identify a number that would likely make the variant more infectious. Other mutations were even more worrying, as they would likely interfere with the immune system's ability to recognize the virus, allowing it to pose a risk to those who had been vaccinated or suffered from previous infections.

Buried in the subtext of these worries was a clear implication: scientists could simply look at the sequence of amino acids in the spike protein of a coronavirus and get a sense of how well the immune system would respond to it.

That knowledge is based on years of studying how the immune system operates, combined with a lot of specific information regarding its interactions with SARS-CoV-2. What follows is a description of these interactions, along with their implications for viral evolution and present and future variants.

Read 30 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Prime Video releases red-band trailer for Legend of Vox Machina animated series

ArsTechnica - Wed, 01/12/2022 - 3:53pm

The Legend of Vox Machina is based on the hugely popular livestreamed Dungeon & Dragons-based web series Critical Role.

Rowdy misfits-turned-mercenaries become unlikely heroes in the red-band trailer for The Legend of Vox Machina, a new adult animated fantasy series coming to Prime Video.

The series has an inspiring origin story. A group of professional voice actors used to get together to play Dungeons & Dragons, and when actress Felicia Day (Eureka, The Guild) heard about the game, she invited the actors to play in a livestreamed format for her YouTube channel, Geek & Sundry. (Day herself played a guest role as a human wizard named Lyra.) Voice actor Matthew Mercer served as Dungeon Master, and the campaigns took place in a fictional world he created called Exandria. The web series Critical Role was born.

Eventually, the folks at Critical Role formed their own production company and split from Geek & Sundry in February 2019, streaming new shows on their Twitch and YouTube channels and launching a spin-off comic book. Episodes typically run for three to five hours, and between 30,000 to 40,000 people watch live each week. Add in VOD and YouTube, and most episodes garner around 1 million views each week, making Critical Role a bona fide media mini-empire.

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

CDC to update advice on best masks—but just wants you to wear one, any of them

ArsTechnica - Wed, 01/12/2022 - 3:25pm
A masked woman in a business suit.

Enlarge / Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, testifies during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on January 11, 2022 in Washington, DC. (credit: Getty | Shawn Thew)

As cases of the ultra-transmissible omicron coronavirus variant continue to increase in the US, many experts have pushed for Americans to upgrade their masks to better protect themselves—i.e., ditch the handmade cloth masks that were fashionable in spring 2020 for options like the high-quality N95s and KN95s that are now more available.

Taking note of the shift, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said today that it is working to update the mask guidance on its website, which hasn't been refreshed since last fall, prior to omicron's rise. Meanwhile, the White House is actively considering providing high-quality masks to Americans.

In a press briefing Wednesday, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeffrey Zients offered little detail on what a federal mask distribution program might look like or when it could come, noting only, "We're in the process right now of strongly considering options to make more high-quality masks available to all Americans."

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Sony brings a compact, flagship smartphone to the US

ArsTechnica - Wed, 01/12/2022 - 2:47pm
Promotional image of cutting-edge smartphone.

Enlarge / The Sony Xperia 5 III, in green. (credit: Sony)

Sony is bringing a $1,000 flagship smartphone, the Xperia 5 III, to the US market. Calling the device "new," however, is a bit of a stretch, as the phone was announced nine months ago.

As you'd expect from the price, the Xperia 5 III is a high-end flagship. It has a Snapdragon 888 SoC, 8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, a 4500 mAh battery, and a 6.1-inch, 120 Hz, 2520×1080 OLED display. There are three rear cameras—a 12 MP main camera, a 12 MP ultrawide, and a 12 MP 3x telephoto. At just 68 mm wide, the Xperia 5 III is one of the most compact Android phones on the market. It has a very tall 21:9 display, but in terms of width, it's only 4 mm bigger than an iPhone 13 Mini. Although it ships with Android 11, an Android 12 update is due sometime soon.

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PCIe 5.0 is just beginning to come to new PCs, but version 6.0 is already here

ArsTechnica - Wed, 01/12/2022 - 12:17pm
The PCIe 6.0 standard's ability to interoperate with all older versions of the standard is a point of pride for the PCI-SIG.

Enlarge / The PCIe 6.0 standard's ability to interoperate with all older versions of the standard is a point of pride for the PCI-SIG. (credit: PCI-SIG)

The PCI Special Interest Group (PCI-SIG) has finalized version 6.0 of the PCI Express standard, the communication bus that lets all the stuff inside your computer communicate. The new version of the spec comes roughly three years after the PCI Express 5.0 spec was finalized, and version 6.0 once again doubles the bandwidth of a PCIe lane from 32GT/s (8GB/s in total, or 4GB/s in each direction) to 64GT/s (16GB/s, or 8GB/s in each direction). For a full 16-lane PCIe 6.0 connection, that's as much as 256GB/s of total bandwidth, compared to the 32GB/s or 64GB/s of now-common PCIe 3.0 and 4.0 connections.

Like past PCIe versions, PCIe 6.0 will "interoperate and maintain backwards compatibility" with all existing PCIe versions, so your PCIe 4.0 GPU or SSD will continue to work in a PCIe 6.0 slot and vice-versa. The PCI-SIG bragged about the specification's longevity in a blog post by PCI-SIG board member Debendra Das Sharma: "An interconnect technology is considered successful if it can sustain three generations of bandwidth improvement spanning a decade. PCIe architecture has far exceeded that mark."

To boost its speeds, PCIe 6.0 uses a new kind of signaling called "Pulse Amplitude Modulation 4" (PAM4), which allows for faster data transfers than the previous Non-Return-To-Zero (NRZ) signaling at the expense of a higher error rate. To compensate, PCIe 6.0 includes technologies like Forward Error Correction (FEC) to correct errors and Cyclic Redundancy Checking (CRC) to ask for packets to be retransmitted when errors can't be corrected. The PCI-SIG says that this combination of technologies should catch all errors without adding latency to the connection.

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Here’s why modern cars feel so lifeless to drive

ArsTechnica - Wed, 01/12/2022 - 12:09pm
A person drives a Porsche Taycan on track

Enlarge / The Porsche Taycan is one of the few new cars to exhibit anything we might recognize as steering feel. That wasn't always the case. (credit: Andrew Hedrick)

In almost every regard, new cars are better than they've been at any time in their history. They're safer than they used to be—though that is less true for women. Powertrains, particularly battery electric ones, are more powerful and more efficient, which helps to compensate for the extra weight of that added safety equipment. Vehicles are far more reliable, at least for their first 100,000 miles, and even cheap cars come with standard equipment that would seem like science fiction to drivers from just a few decades ago.

They ride better; they stop better—so everything's great, right? The problem is that modern cars almost invariably feel a bit boring to drive. The issue is more acute the longer you've been driving, as you might expect, since the cause is technological progression—specifically, power steering.

What happened to steering feel?

For much of the car's existence, steering was entirely unassisted. The driver turns the wheel connected to a steering column that, through links and pivots and usually a gear, turns the front wheels in either direction. That setup was marvelous for feedback, but it wasn't great in terms of the effort required to turn the wheel, particularly at lower speeds.

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Scammers put fake QR codes on parking meters to intercept parkers’ payments

ArsTechnica - Wed, 01/12/2022 - 11:42am
Illustration of a parking meter and a warning not to scan any QR codes on meters.

Enlarge / Image from the City of Austin's warning to ignore QR code stickers on parking meters. (credit: City of Austin)

Scammers in a few big Texas cities have been putting fake QR codes on parking meters to trick people into paying the fraudsters. Parking enforcement officers recently found stickers with fraudulent QR codes on pay stations in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio.

San Antonio police warned the public of the scam on December 20, saying that "people attempting to pay for parking using those QR codes may have been directed to a fraudulent website and submitted payment to a fraudulent vendor." Similar scams were then found in Austin and Houston.

The Austin Transportation Department started examining their own meters after being "notified of a QR code scam by the City of San Antonio in late December—when more than 100 pay stations were stickered with fraudulent codes," Fox 7 Austin reported last week. Austin officials checked the city's 900 or so parking pay stations and found fraudulent QR codes on 29 of them, according to a KXAN article.

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Wordle and IP law: What happens when a hot game gets cloned

ArsTechnica - Wed, 01/12/2022 - 11:36am
And you thought the tweets were annoying...

Enlarge / And you thought the tweets were annoying... (credit: Aurich Lawson)

On Tuesday afternoon, searching for "Wordle" on the iOS App Store turned up a small handful of apps aping the name and gameplay of the simple word game that has gone viral in recent weeks. But none of those iOS apps were made by Josh Wardle, the Brooklyn-based software engineer who created the free web-based game last October.

Today, all of those copycat apps are gone, the apparent result of a belated purge by App Store reviewers following some social media attention. But this likely doesn't mean the end of Wordle clones. Those quick removals paper over the complicated legal and social landscape surrounding copycat apps and the protections developers can claim on their game ideas.

Who owns “Wordle”?

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FTC has a “plausible claim” that Facebook is an illegal monopoly, judge says

ArsTechnica - Wed, 01/12/2022 - 10:50am
A worker picks up trash in front of the new logo in front of Meta's headquarters on October 28, 2021, in Menlo Park, Calif.

Enlarge / A worker picks up trash in front of the new logo in front of Meta's headquarters on October 28, 2021, in Menlo Park, Calif. (credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The Federal Trade Commission’s antitrust suit against Facebook may proceed, a federal judge has ruled. The company had filed a motion to dismiss the case, which the judge denied.

US District Judge James Boasberg had invited the FTC to refile the case after throwing out its initial attempt when he found it lacking. “Second time lucky?” Boasberg wrote in yesterday’s opinion. Apparently.

“The core theory of the lawsuit remains essentially unchanged,” he said of the FTC's refiling. “The facts alleged this time around to fortify those theories, however, are far more robust and detailed than before, particularly in regard to the contours of Defendant’s alleged monopoly.”

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Ships from 1,581 ports may go to Antarctica, bringing unwanted guests

ArsTechnica - Wed, 01/12/2022 - 10:33am
Tourist boats could potentially bring invasive species to the Antarctic region.

Enlarge / Tourist boats could potentially bring invasive species to the Antarctic region. (credit: Andrew Peacock)

Right now, the Antarctic and the waters around it are surprisingly free of invasive species. According to new research, however, that situation might change in the not-too-distant future, thanks to a shocking level of connectivity with ports across the world. Ships can accidentally carry a large array of marine life, which can in turn colonize new places (like the world’s polar south), outcompete native life, and generally wreak havoc on an ecosystem. New research has traced the paths of the various research vessels, tourist ships, and fishing boats that chug along through the icy waters of the Antarctic.

According to Arlie McCarthy, a researcher in the University of Cambridge’s Department of Zoology and the British Antarctic Survey, these watercraft all carry with them a risk of unwanted visitors. And the visitors may have more chances to relocate than we once thought.

“We know from other cold areas in the world, including the Arctic, that things growing on the hulls of ships absolutely do get transported from place to place, and it is one of the major sources of marine introductions around the world,” McCarthy told Ars. “We also know that ships going into Antarctica do have things growing on them. What we didn’t know until this point was good detail on where those ships go.”

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Teen hacker finds bug that lets him control 25+ Teslas remotely

ArsTechnica - Wed, 01/12/2022 - 9:40am
The downside with offering APIs to interact with a car is that someone else's security problem might become your own.

Enlarge / The downside with offering APIs to interact with a car is that someone else's security problem might become your own. (credit: Getty Images)

A young hacker and IT security researcher found a way to remotely interact with more than 25 Tesla electric vehicles in 13 countries, according to a Twitter thread he posted yesterday.

David Colombo explained in the thread that the flaw was "not a vulnerability in Tesla's infrastructure. It's the owner's faults." He claimed to be able to disable a car's remote camera system, unlock doors and open windows, and even begin keyless driving. He could also determine the car's exact location.

However, Colombo clarified that he could not actually interact with any of the Teslas' steering, throttle, or brakes, so at least we don't have to worry about an army of remote-controlled EVs doing a Fate of the Furious reenactment.

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High-speed rail construction reveals Roman town in the UK

ArsTechnica - Wed, 01/12/2022 - 9:10am
aerial photo of archaeological site

Enlarge / Aerial shots with drone of Blackgrounds Roman archaeological site. (credit: HS2)

Archaeologists surveying the planned route of a high-speed railway between London and Birmingham in the UK unearthed the remains of a Roman trading town in what is now South Northamptonshire.

At its height, the town boasted an assortment of workshops and businesses, with long-buried foundations that archaeologists have spent the past year carefully unearthing from the site’s dark—almost black—soil. Artifacts at the site, from jewelry and finely made ceramics to more than 300 Roman coins, hint at ancient affluence. According to archaeologists with the Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) Headland Infrastructure, most of that wealth probably came from trade along the nearby River Cherwell or the 10-meter-wide stone-paved Roman road running through the middle of the town.

“It indicates that the settlement would have been very busy, with carts simultaneously coming and going to load and unload goods,” said MOLA Headland Infrastructure in a statement.

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God of War on PC delivers nearly everything we’d hoped for

ArsTechnica - Wed, 01/12/2022 - 9:00am
"Boy." "Yes?" "You are ready... for the PC port." (This image was directly captured by Ars from the game's PC build—as were most of the other images in this article, unless otherwise clarified.)

Enlarge / "Boy." "Yes?" "You are ready... for the PC port." (This image was directly captured by Ars from the game's PC build—as were most of the other images in this article, unless otherwise clarified.) (credit: Sony Santa Monica)

While headlines have suggested that Sony's PlayStation division is more invested in the PC gaming space than ever before, its track record of releases thus far has been a bit shaky, even if the future looks promising. Sony's combined PC-porting studios stumbled in mid-2020 with Horizon: Zero Dawn, although the company eventually massaged that game into decent shape months later. Meanwhile, Days Gone arrived in 2021 with a solid number of PC-specific bells and whistles. That's only two bona fide PlayStation "hits" on PC thus far, leaving plenty of popular series missing.

Sony continues its PC-porting streak in 2022 by announcing two more titles. The first, 2018's God of War reboot, is emblematic of the company's PS4-game-porting aspirations. (Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection, coming later this year, is the second.) Sony Santa Monica provided preview code for God of War's PC port a full four weeks before the game's $49.99 launch this Friday on Steam, the Epic Games StoreHumble, and other PC gaming storefronts. Based on what I've tested thus far, that level of confidence is warranted.

Tiding PC players over before the non-PC Ragnarök

God of War official PC port trailer.

Before digging into God of War's PC specifics (and my recommendations for settings and toggles), let's recap why I care about a port of a four-year-old PS4 game. When the God of War reboot arrived in 2018, the series' original run had accumulated a mix of baggage and fatigue that cooled my initial expectations. It didn't take long for Sony Santa Monica's gorgeous, massive, emotional adventure to change my tune, and the game finished third on Ars' 2018 best-of list.

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Today’s best deals: Apple Watch SE, Bluetooth speakers, Switch Online bundle, and more

ArsTechnica - Wed, 01/12/2022 - 8:40am
 Apple Watch SE, Bluetooth speakers, Switch Online bundle, and more

Enlarge (credit: Ars Technica)

It's time for another Dealmaster! Today's roundup of the best tech deals we can find around the web includes the entry-level Apple Watch SE, which is down to $229. We've seen this price before, but it's still $50 off Apple's MSRP, about $30 off the SE's usual street price and only $10 above the lowest price we've tracked. While the higher-end Apple Watch Series 7 remains the top pick in our guide to the best smartwatches, the SE is a strong budget alternative. By comparison, it lacks an always-on (and slightly larger) display, it charges a bit slower, and it's missing more advanced health-tracking features like blood oxygen monitoring and ECG functionality. But the experience is largely similar otherwise, with the same robust app library, a comparable design, and most of the same core health monitoring tools for sleep and exercise, all at a much lower cost. It's still meant for iPhone users only, but if you were thinking of making this the year you pick up a smartwatch, this deal presents a good value.

Elsewhere, the Nintendo Switch Online bundle we featured last week, which pairs a recommended 128GB microSD card with a 12-month Switch Online Family Membership, is still available, as are most of the Switch game deals we highlighted from Nintendo's New Year's sale. We've also found lower-than-usual prices on Tribit's XSound Go, a budget Bluetooth speaker we've praised in past buying guides, and Samsung's T7, a portable SSD we like. Our curated roundup also has deals on Apple's Mac Mini, screen protectors for the iPhone 13, USB-C chargers, and more. Have a look at the full list below.

Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.

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