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.

Nintendo: No new Switch model planned for 2020

ArsTechnica - Fri, 01/31/2020 - 9:18am
These are the only two Switch models that Nintendo plans to sell this year.

Enlarge / These are the only two Switch models that Nintendo plans to sell this year.

Nintendo says it won't be releasing another new version of the Switch this year. "Regarding Nintendo Switch, we believe that it is important to continue to communicate the appeal of both Nintendo Switch systems and expand the installed base," CEO Shuntaro Furukawa said in an investor briefing following an earnings report. "Please note that we have no plans to launch a new Nintendo Switch model during 2020."

The announcement counters multiple reports from the past 12 months that suggested Nintendo was looking into a more powerful Switch model with an improved OS, image rendering, and usability functions. A Nikkei report from April suggested that this "enhanced" version of the system was still in the early planning stages, though, and didn't even have anyone assigned to head its development at the time.

Will the Switch fall behind?

The hardware inside the Nvidia Tegra-based Switch is distinctly less powerful than the Xbox One or PS4, despite launching years later than Sony's and Microsoft's larger TV-based consoles. That power gap is even more pronounced for the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X and is set to widen even further later this year with the release of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.

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The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB gets good infotainment, but don’t get the AI

ArsTechnica - Fri, 01/31/2020 - 8:55am

If there were any doubt about the utter dominance of the market by SUVs, consider that prior to 2020, Mercedes—that storied brand built on luxury sedans—offered six different classes of them. Wait—seven, if you count the hatchback GLA they slot in as an SUV (and I do).

Well, brace yourselves. There's now an eighth. The GLB250 parks a squarish, upright, proper-looking SUV into the paper-thin slot under the C-Class-based GLC and over the definition-challenged GLA. But the GLB grabs its design clay far more from the big GLS and positively rectilinear G-Class than any of the softer, more pliably styled Mercedes SUVs. In fact, that boxier form factor makes the new GLB an even more authoritative-looking family box with wheels than many roaming the streets today, somewhat aimless in their design.

And one step further into family firmament, the GLB offers a third-row seat—nearly unheard of in this size class, and something you must venture way up into the mid-sized GLE class among other Mercedes models to find.

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

WarCraft III Reforged: Not the flavor of chaos we were hoping for

ArsTechnica - Fri, 01/31/2020 - 6:28am
You can practically hear the opening film's orc screaming, "You should seriously reconsider spending $30, you human sacks of filth!"

Enlarge / You can practically hear the opening film's orc screaming, "You should seriously reconsider spending $30, you human sacks of filth!" (credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

The more I look at this week's launch of WarCraft III: Reforged, the more I shake my head. I've grown up playing Blizzard games for a majority of my life, and while I can think of Blizzard game launches with technical issues or critical shoulder-shrugs, I can't recall a retail launch for a product that, quite simply, wasn't finished. WC3:R changes that.

What's more, the uneven and problematic changes to this "reforged" 2002 game come with a bold, new step for Blizzard: the official sunsetting of a classic game's client. The original code base, which has remained roughly 1.3GB in size after an expansion pack launch and years of patches, has been pushed aside. Anyone who already owned an official WC3 license is prompted by Blizzard's default game launcher to download the new 26+ GB version to play online, whether or not they pay an additional $30 for its GBs of "reforged" content.

Worse, between a new Terms of Service requirement and a number of features removed from the previous version, it looks like the game's online ecosystem—the very thing that kept the game afloat for decades and earned a glowing retrospective from us only days ago—may be gone for good. Pardon my English, but, what in the freaking world is going on, Blizzard?

Read 26 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Rocket Report: Starlink flies, OneWeb has next mega-constellation launch

ArsTechnica - Fri, 01/31/2020 - 5:00am
Cartoon rocket superimposed over real rocket launch.

Enlarge / The mighty Delta IV Heavy rocket takes to the skies. (credit: Aurich Lawson/United Launch Alliance)

Welcome to Edition 2.30 of the Rocket Report! We've reached the end of January, and the business of launch has really started to heat up for 2020. Plenty of news this week from the deepening of the low Earth orbit satellite Internet race to quirky stories involving tech journalists and rocket companies. All that, and more, in this week's report.

As always, we welcome reader submissions, and if you don't want to miss an issue, please subscribe using the box below (the form will not appear on AMP-enabled versions of the site). Each report will include information on small-, medium-, and heavy-lift rockets as well as a quick look ahead at the next three launches on the calendar.

Read 26 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Amazon reports big earnings, crosses $1 trillion in value

ArsTechnica - Thu, 01/30/2020 - 6:02pm
Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive officer of Amazon.com Inc.

Enlarge / Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive officer of Amazon.com Inc. (credit: Getty | Bloomberg)

Amazon delivered its final quarterly earnings report for the 2019 fiscal year today, and investor response to a largely positive report describing big holiday sales and AWS performance drove the company's market cap above $1 trillion.

Amazon told investors that it achieved $87.4 billion in revenue during the fourth quarter of its fiscal-year 2019.

This quarter included the holiday shopping frenzy, and Amazon impressed investors with a 21 percent increase in sales compared to the same quarter last year. Amazon executives said that the company quadrupled same-day and one-day shipping over last year's figures, and it credited part of the holiday success to the company's ability to offer expedient shipping. Achieving those speedy deliveries brought Amazon's shipping expenditures in the quarter up to $12.9 billion, more than 40 percent more than last year.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Exonerated: Charges dropped against pentesters paid to break into Iowa courthouse

ArsTechnica - Thu, 01/30/2020 - 3:57pm
Three-story courthouse with corner gables.

Enlarge / The Dallas County Courthouse in Adel, Iowa. (credit: Stephen Matthew Milligan)

Prosecutors have dropped criminal charges against two security professionals who were arrested and jailed last September for breaking into an Iowa courthouse as part of a contract with Iowa’s judicial arm.

The dismissal, which was announced on Thursday, is a victory not only for Coalfire Labs, the security firm that employed the two penetration testers, but the security industry as a whole and the countless organizations that rely on it. Although employees Gary DeMercurio and Justin Wynn had written authorization to test the physical security of the Dallas County Courthouse in Iowa, the men spent more than 12 hours in jail on felony third-degree burglary charges. The charges were later lowered to misdemeanor trespass.

The case cast a menacing cloud over an age-old practice that’s crucial to securing buildings and the computers and networks inside of them. Penetration testers are hired to hack or break into sensitive systems or premises and then disclose the vulnerabilities and techniques that made the breaches possible. Owners and operators then use the information to improve security.

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Browser review: Microsoft’s new “Edgium” Chromium-based Edge

ArsTechnica - Thu, 01/30/2020 - 3:40pm

Before much longer, every new Windows PC is going to have a new default browser: it will still be named Microsoft Edge, but it's a completely different browser than the old version. Cue the jokes now about "the new browser everyone uses to download Chrome"—but we're not sure that so many people will actually bother downloading Chrome anymore.

The old Microsoft Edge was a completely in-house Microsoft design, proprietary from the ground up. It wasn't necessarily a bad browser, but it never really took off—by the time Edge became a thing, most of the people who cared about their browsers were so sick and tired of Internet Explorer they'd long since moved on to either Firefox or Chrome; and the people who didn't care much about their browsers frequently ended up finding the old Internet Explorer and setting it as their default when they discovered that "the big blue E" on their taskbar didn't work with legacy IE-only websites and apps.

The new Edge isn't entirely—or even mostly, so far—a Microsoft effort, though. Edge is now based on the open source Chromium browser, which is the underpinning of Google Chrome and several other, lesser-known browsers as well. It should seem immediately familiar to seasoned Chrome users—and it even allows installing extensions directly from Chrome's own Web store. It's not hard to imagine a lot of Chrome users simply not bothering to replace it when they see how familiar it is.

Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

CBS makes Star Trek: Picard pilot free on YouTube for a limited time

ArsTechnica - Thu, 01/30/2020 - 3:10pm

Episode 1 of Star Trek: Picard on YouTube.

CBS has made the entirety of the first episode of its new series Star Trek: Picard freely and publicly available as a YouTube video. This is an opportunity for viewers curious about the show to see if Picard is worth subscribing to the network's streaming service, CBS All Access, to watch the rest of the series.

The episode on YouTube is the same as the pilot episode that premiered on CBS All Access last week. The second episode of Picard began streaming on CBS All Access yesterday, and the network plans to release episodes at a weekly cadence. CBS has not said whether it plans to make other episodes available for free on YouTube in the future, but it seems likely.

The description for the video says the episode will only be available "for a limited time" and that it's presented by Geico. It does not, however, clarify how long "a limited time" is or when the video might become unavailable.

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

US government sees renewables passing natural gas in 20 years

ArsTechnica - Thu, 01/30/2020 - 2:51pm
Image of wind turbines in the waters beyond an island.

Enlarge / The United States' first offshore wind farm. (credit: University of Rhode Island)

Each year, the US Energy Information Agency is required to track trends in the nation's energy markets and project those trends forward. Projections based on 2019's trends were released this week, and for the first time, the EIA's default projection places renewables as the largest single source of electricity generation, with renewables surpassing natural gas somewhere around 2040.

These reports are very conservative due to some of the assumptions that are included in the projections, and they've done a terrible job projecting the rapid growth of renewable power. And despite the current report showing steady growth of renewables, there are indications it may still be underestimating renewables' potential. But the report is still worth looking at, as it can help to understand how more realistic assumptions could change the future direction of the United States' energy mix.

How to project

Some of the issues with the EIA's projections are baked into the system. For example, the reports are required to assume existing government policies are the only ones that apply. So while there is some talk of extending tax credits for renewable energy facilities, which has happened in the past, the report assumes that these policies will terminate in the near future as planned.

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Google Stadia’s latest free game only has a few thousand total players

ArsTechnica - Thu, 01/30/2020 - 2:28pm
Screenshot from video game Thumper.

Enlarge / Only a few thousand people are seeing free scenes like this streamed via their Stadia Pro subscriptions, according to leaderboard data. (credit: Drool)

The Google Stadia version of Thumper, which is being offered for free to all paid Stadia Pro subscribers, has only seen a few thousand players, based on leaderboard data reviewed by Ars Technica. The numbers suggest significant struggles as the new streaming gaming service from Google, launched in November, tries to attract players away from traditional gaming platforms.

Thumper, along with Rise of the Tomb Raider, was a free Stadia Pro title for the month of January, meaning everyone who paid $129 for the service's "Founder's Edition" and "Premiere Edition" bundles has access to it (those bundles, which are the only current way to access Stadia, include three months of Stadia Pro service). As of this morning, though, only 5,515 people have registered a score on the leaderboards for the first stage of the Stadia version of the game, which separates such leaderboards by platform. That number was at 4,563 on January 15, when Ars conducted a spot check.

That doesn't mean that Stadia Pro only has 5,515 users, of course. For one thing, not everyone who has played the game has finished the first stage (which takes about 10 minutes to complete, depending on personal performance). Trophy data for the Xbox One and PS4 versions of the game, though, suggests that almost 70 percent of all Thumper players do manage to pass this low bar, which would translate to about 8,000 total players so far for the Stadia version.

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More than 200 browser extensions ejected from Firefox and Chrome stores

ArsTechnica - Thu, 01/30/2020 - 2:15pm
Screenshot of the Mozilla add-ons page.

Enlarge (credit: Mozilla)

Mozilla and Google are cracking down on malicious and abusive extensions available for the Firefox and Chrome browsers, respectively. The moves come in response to the recent detection of add-ons that turned out to violate the browser maker's policies, despite review processes designed to weed out wares that are malicious or have the potential to be malicious.

The most significant move was Mozilla's ouster over the past month of almost 200 extensions. The majority of them—129, to be exact—were developed by 2Ring, a maker of business software. There's no evidence the extensions were malicious, but Mozilla officials found they executed code hosted on a remote server, in violation of Mozilla policies. The representative added that current installations aren't affected and users who want to install an extension can still do so manually.

A 2Ring representative said that company officials have contacted Mozilla about the move and are awaiting a response. The representative added that the extensions, which businesses use to integrate select CRM systems with apps installed in customer contact centers, interact only with user white-listed applications specified in the extension's configuration.

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AT&T slashed billions from network spending, cut tens of thousands of jobs

ArsTechnica - Thu, 01/30/2020 - 1:55pm
An AT&T sign on the outside of a building.

Enlarge / An AT&T sign outside a company office in New York City. (credit: Getty Images | Roberto Machado Noa )

AT&T slashed capital expenditures by more than $1.6 billion in 2019 and projects a capital-investment cut of more than $3 billion in 2020.

AT&T's capital expenditures for the full year of 2019 totaled $19.64 billion, down from $21.25 billion in 2018, an AT&T investor briefing released yesterday said.

The broadband industry and Federal Communications Commission officials have used capital expenditures as a measure of broadband-network investment and have claimed that eliminating net neutrality rules and other regulations would cause such investment to rise. But some of the biggest ISPs, such as Comcast and Charter, have been reducing capital expenditures despite getting their sought-after net neutrality repeal and a large corporate tax cut.

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Caltech wins $1.1 billion patent award against Apple and Broadcom

ArsTechnica - Thu, 01/30/2020 - 1:42pm
A MacBook

Enlarge (credit: Valentina Palladino)

Apple owes the California Institute of Technology $837 million for selling devices with patent-infringing Wi-Fi chips, a Los Angeles federal jury ruled on Wednesday. Broadcom, which sold the chips to Apple, owes Caltech another $270 million.

The nine-person jury in the US District Court for the Central District of California reached its verdict after a two-week trial, the Los Angeles Times and Law360 report. Apple and Broadcom plan to appeal the decision.

The patents claim irregular repeat-accumulate codes, a mathematical technique for encoding data that allows it to be reconstructed if some bits are scrambled during transmission. Error-correcting codes have been used in communications networks for decades, but IRA codes offered a better tradeoff between robustness and decoding time than previous techniques. Researchers at Caltech published a paper about the technique in 2000 and filed several patent applications around the same time.

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Novel coronavirus spreads in US as WHO declares global emergency

ArsTechnica - Thu, 01/30/2020 - 1:28pm
A serious man in a open-collar suit speaks into a microphone.

Enlarge / World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during a press conference following a WHO Emergency committee to discuss whether the Coronavirus, the SARS-like virus, outbreak that began in China constitutes an international health emergency, on January 30, 2020 in Geneva. (credit: Getty | AFP)

The World Health Organization announced today, January 30, that the outbreak of respiratory disease from the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in China constitutes a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).”

PHEICs are declared in extraordinary situations, such as when public health is threatened by an infectious disease that could spread internationally and requires international responses and collaboration to address. The declaration prompts additional international support efforts and releases financial resources.

In a press conference today, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (who goes by Dr. Tedros) praised China for its response efforts to the outbreak so far. The country’s efforts and commitment to transparency is “very impressive,” he said.

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Avast shutters data-selling subsidiary amid user outrage

ArsTechnica - Thu, 01/30/2020 - 1:06pm
An Avast Antivirus logo displayed on a smartphone.

Enlarge / An Avast Antivirus logo displayed on a smartphone. (credit: Rafael Henrique | SOPA Images | LightRocket via Getty Images)

One of the world's largest antivirus providers is ending a program that collected and sold users' Web browsing data a few days after media reports exposed the platform.

Avast CEO Ondrej Vlcek announced late Thursday the end of the data-selling subsidiary, known as Jumpshot. Writing in an open letter, he said that he and the company's board "have decided to terminate the Jumpshot data collection and wind down Jumpshot's operations, with immediate effect."

The pervasive operations of Jumpshot came to light earlier this week following reporting by Vice Motherboard and PCMag. Jumpshot described itself as "the only company that unlocks walled garden data... to provide marketers with unparalleled visibility, analytical insights and a more comprehensive understanding of the online customer journey that delivers a highly competitive advantage."

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DOD tester’s report: F-35 is still a lemon

ArsTechnica - Thu, 01/30/2020 - 12:30pm
A jet fighter its on a runway behind low metal fencing.

Enlarge / A US Lockheed Martin F-35 Fighter is displayed during the 53rd International Paris Air Show last year in its natural state: on the ground. A poor "mission capable" rate plagues the F-35, as well as cybersecurity vulnerabilities and a gun that won't shoot straight, according to an upcoming Pentagon report. (credit: Mustafa Yalcin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The latest report on the progress of the US Defense Department's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is due out soon from the Office of the Secretary of Defense's director for operational test and evaluation (DOT&E), Robert Behler.

Last year's report was full of bad news. And based on Bloomberg Government's Tony Capaccio's early access to the new report, we know much of that bad news is still bad news. In fact, the only real good news is that there are no new major flaws in the $428 billion aircraft program reported by Behler's team.

But the bad is still bad. For starters, the Air Force version of the F-35 can't hit what it shoots its gun at.

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Spectacular sunrises and a sense of optimism starts the 2020 racing season

ArsTechnica - Thu, 01/30/2020 - 12:02pm

What a difference a year makes. In 2019, the Rolex 24 at Daytona could have more accurately been called the Rolex 14 because it rained so hard and for so long that there were 10 hours of red flag stoppages and safety car periods. The sports car community had a markedly better time of it in 2020—the last raindrops fell sometime on Thursday, well before the green flag waved at 1:40pm on Saturday, with summer-like temperatures during the day that were welcomed by everyone who descended on Daytona Beach in Florida from places where winter remains in full effect. The racing was quite different from a year ago as well. It was less of a barnstormer, for one thing, with a noticeably smaller grid than in years past, and minus the international star power that is Fernando Alonso—the former F1 double-champ decided to start his racing year by competing in the Dakar rally, instead. That's not to suggest a bad time was had—far from it.

Who wants to race to France?

The biggest news for the weekend actually happened before the race got underway. As mentioned in my pre-race article, talks have been ongoing between IMSA—which runs the WeatherTech Sportscar Championship (of which the Rolex 24 is a part) and the ACO, the French organization that controls the 24 Hours of Le Mans. On Friday, the two groups held a press conference to announce that the next iteration of the DPi prototype race cars—due in 2022—will now be called LMDh (for Le Mans Daytona hybrid) and will compete against the ACO's new Le Mans Hypercar at the world's biggest race. (Sorry Indy, the 500 is still only the world's largest single day sporting event.)

LMDh will use a homologated carbon fiber chassis from the same four manufacturers that produce the current DPi carbon fiber tubs. OEMs will still be free to use their own engines and electronics, and the cars will have much more road car-like styling, similar to Le Mans Hypercars. There will be a common hybrid system that recovers and deploys kinetic energy at the rear wheels, although beyond that, the technical details remain a work in progress. The upshot of this news is that the factory-supported prototypes fielded by the likes of Cadillac, Acura, and Mazda will be eligible to compete at Le Mans for an overall win, something that many sports car fans have been wanting to see since the dieselgate-powered implosion of the mighty LMP1-H category.

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Dealmaster: Lenovo’s already affordable Thinkbook 13s is on sale for $581

ArsTechnica - Thu, 01/30/2020 - 10:40am
 Lenovo’s already affordable Thinkbook 13s is on sale for $581

Enlarge

Greetings Arsians! We're kicking off today's Dealmaster with a big sale on an already solid yet affordable Lenovo laptop. Now you can get the Lenovo Thinkbook 13s with a Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB SSD for $581.

The Thinkbook 13s debuted last year as an option for those who wanted some ThinkPad influences in a more wallet-friendly machine. Normally, the Thinkbook 13s starts at around $750, putting it at an intriguing price point when compared to the ThinkPad, HP Spectre, and Dell XPS machines of the world. Lenovo's current sale only sweetens the deal on this mid-range configuration—and you can get a more powerful Thinkbook 13s with a Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB SSD for just $721 as well.

We liked the Thinkbook 13s for its relatively slim yet sturdy design, comfortable keyboard, physical webcam shutter, and solid performance. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles that flagship notebooks do—like an IR camera, a standard touchscreen panel, or Thunderbolt 3 port—but it has most of the things we see as essential in a machine that sits in the $500 to $1,000 range.

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A deep dive into the Apollo Guidance Computer, and the hack that saved Apollo 14

ArsTechnica - Thu, 01/30/2020 - 10:30am
//www.cradleofaviation.org/">Cradle of Aviation Museum</a> in Long Island.

Enlarge / The source of all the trouble: the Abort pushbutton (along with its companion the Abort Stage pushbutton). This particular image is of the LM simulator currently residing at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Long Island. (credit: Frank O'Brien)

Commanded by Alan Shepard, the only original Mercury astronaut to make it to the Moon on an Apollo mission, Apollo 14 was a reflight of Apollo 13's abandoned lunar landing plan. Accompanied by Lunar Module Pilot Ed Mitchell and Command Module Pilot Stu Roosa, Shepard's target was the Fra Mauro highlands, a hilly area near the lunar equator and just south of the giant crater Copernicus. Likely created from the ejecta thrown out when Mare Imbrium was created, the Fra Mauro site was thought to potentially contain material from deep inside the Moon that could shed light on our companion satellite's origin.

In the eight months since the harrowing flight of Apollo 13, engineers made several changes to the spacecraft to reduce the chance of another explosion happening. To help ensure that the crew could make it home if another emergency occurred, an additional oxygen tank and battery were added. The unplanned pause also allowed time for some software updates to be added to the lunar module computer; a particularly welcome addition was the ability of the computer to recognize changes in the height of the surface during the approach to the landing site. With this new capability, the computer would not be confused by the undulating terrain as the vehicle headed toward landing.

What is past is prologue

In the afternoon of January 31, 1971, the flight thundered away from the Kennedy Space Center on its Saturn V launch vehicle after only a brief 40 minute hold for weather. After restarting the S-IVB third stage for trans-lunar injection (TLI), the command module Kitty Hawk and her crew were on their way to the Moon.

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DOD launches swarming drone in test of C-130 “drone mothership” concept

ArsTechnica - Thu, 01/30/2020 - 9:09am
An artist's concept of how Gremlins would fill the skies, launched from manned motherships.

Enlarge / An artist's concept of how Gremlins would fill the skies, launched from manned motherships. (credit: DARPA)

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has been conducting research into a number of types of swarming drones that could be used on the battlefield. The latest of these is the "Gremlins" program—an effort to build relatively low-cost unmanned aircraft that can be launched from a "mothership" transport aircraft and then be recovered by the mothership after their mission is complete.

This past week, the Defense Department conducted the first airborne launch test for the Dynetics X-61A Gremlins Air Vehicle, a jet-powered drone that can be launched from the rotary weapons bays of the B-1 and B-52, from wing pylons, or from a C-130—and then recovered by a C-130 equipped with a docking cable and a crane-like recovery arm.

A DARPA video describing the Gremlins program.

The first flight of the X-61A took place in November, but the test this week—at the Dugway Proving Ground in Utah—was the first air launch of the drone. While the 101-minute flight was successful, the parachute system intended to allow for a soft ground landing failed, and the drone was destroyed in the unexpected hard landing that followed.

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