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.

Developer sabotages his own apps, then claims Aaron Swartz was murdered

ArsTechnica - Mon, 01/10/2022 - 1:58pm
Stock photo of the lit fuse of a stick of dynamite or firework.

Enlarge (credit: James Brey / iStockPhoto / Getty Images)

The developer who sabotaged two of his own open source code libraries, causing disruptions for thousands of apps that used them, has a colorful past that includes embracing a QAnon theory involving Aaron Swartz, the well-known hacktivist and programmer who died by suicide in 2013.

Marak Squires, the author of two JavaScript libraries with more than 21,000 dependent apps and more than 22 million weekly downloads, updated his projects late last week after they remained unchanged for more than a year. The updates contained code to produce an infinite loop that caused dependent apps to spew gibberish, prefaced by the words “Liberty Liberty Liberty.” The update sent developers scrambling as they attempted to fix their malfunctioning apps.

What really happened with Aaron Swartz?

Squires provided no reason for the move, but in a readme file accompanying last week’s malicious update, he included the words “What really happened with Aaron Swartz?”

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Microsoft posts its own teardown and repair video for the Surface Laptop SE

ArsTechnica - Mon, 01/10/2022 - 1:30pm
Microsoft engineer Branden Cole disassembles the Surface Laptop SE step-by-step.

Enlarge / Microsoft engineer Branden Cole disassembles the Surface Laptop SE step-by-step. (credit: Microsoft/YouTube)

Usually, when you want to see a step-by-step teardown video for a Surface device, you need to go to a third-party outfit like iFixit. But today, Microsoft's Surface YouTube channel posted its own teardown video for the cheap, education-focused Surface Laptop SE. In the video, a Microsoft engineer completely disassembles the laptop (with iFixit tools, no less) while describing each step as he goes.

Microsoft's Surface lineup was infamously difficult to repair for years, thanks to the extensive use of glued- and soldered-down components. This has started to shift in recent years, as Microsoft has added user-replaceable SSDs and made other tweaks to make its machines easier to take apart and put back together. Repairability is a selling point for the Surface Laptop SE in particular because the laptop is being marketed to schools, where laptops can be dropped, spilled on, or otherwise abused by kids who may or may not know better.

In response to shareholder pressure, Microsoft has promised to ramp up its repairability efforts in the future, including expanding the availability of parts and documentation and making it easier for third-party service providers to do repairs. This video presumably falls under the umbrella of "documentation," and hopefully we'll see the same treatment given to other Surface devices in the future.

Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Gruesome Viking “blood eagle” ritual is anatomically possible, study finds

ArsTechnica - Mon, 01/10/2022 - 12:22pm
Thorbjørn Harr played Jarl Borg of Götaland in the first two seasons of the History Channel series <em>Vikings</em>. Spoiler alert: He met with a gruesome death via the legendary "blood eagle" ritual. The ritual may have been a myth, but a new study shows it is anatomically possible.

Enlarge / Thorbjørn Harr played Jarl Borg of Götaland in the first two seasons of the History Channel series Vikings. Spoiler alert: He met with a gruesome death via the legendary "blood eagle" ritual. The ritual may have been a myth, but a new study shows it is anatomically possible. (credit: History Channel)

The History Channel series Vikings is a fictional account of legendary Norse hero Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel), who was born a farmer and became a Scandinavian king. Early in the series, a rival leader named Jarl Borg (Thorbjørn Harr) of nearby Götaland leads an attack on Ragnar's men and even convinces Ragnar's brother to betray him. Borg doesn't get an easy death when his schemes ultimately fail and he is captured. Ragnar performs the blóðǫrn (“blood eagle”) on Borg, a gruesome process of ritualized torture and execution allegedly carried out during the Viking Age (c. 750–1050).

The series prides itself on being as historically accurate as possible, which is a challenge, given that much of what we know about the Viking Age comes from epic poems telling of their achievements in spoken form, finally written down centuries later. That's especially the case with the blood eagle ritual, which has long been dismissed as mere legend—whether because of repeated misunderstandings during translations of the poems or perhaps a desire by Christian scholars to portray the pagan Vikings as barbaric.

(Warning: some graphic anatomical descriptions follow.)

Read 15 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Canon can’t get enough toner chips, so it’s telling customers how to defeat its DRM

ArsTechnica - Mon, 01/10/2022 - 11:12am
Canon can’t get enough toner chips, so it’s telling customers how to defeat its DRM

Enlarge (credit: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg)

For years, printers have been encumbered with digital rights management systems that prevent users from buying third-party ink and toner cartridges. Printer companies have claimed that their chip-enabled cartridges can “enhance the quality and performance” of their equipment, provide the “best consumer experience,” and “protect [the printers] from counterfeit and third-party ink cartridges.”

Left unsaid is the fact that requiring first-party cartridges also ensures a recurring revenue stream. It’s an old business model—Gillette sold its razor handles cheaply to sell more razors, for example—and it's one that printer companies have enthusiastically embraced. Lexmark, HP, Canon, Brother, and others all effectively require users to purchase first-party ink and toner.

To enforce the use of first-party cartridges, manufacturers typically embed chips inside the consumables for the printers to “authenticate.” But when chips are in short supply, like today, manufacturers can find themselves in a bind. So Canon is now telling German customers how to defeat its printers’ warnings about third-party cartridges.

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Elon Musk says he’s hiking “full self driving” by another $2,000

ArsTechnica - Mon, 01/10/2022 - 10:36am
The Model Y still includes a steering wheel for Tesla owners who want to drive for themselves.

Enlarge / The Model Y still includes a steering wheel for Tesla owners who want to drive for themselves. (credit: Tesla)

Tesla's highly controversial "full self driving" feature is getting yet another price increase. CEO Elon Musk used his Twitter feed last Friday to announce the price hike, telling his millions of followers, "Tesla FSD price rising to $12k on Jan 17."

Price increases have been a fairly constant theme with the driver-assistance system. In the wake of Uber's well-publicized IPO in 2019, Tesla got ridehailing fever, with Musk claiming that a self-driving Tesla could earn $30,000 a year in income, working the streets while its owner is asleep or at work.

"If you buy a Tesla today, I believe you are buying an appreciating asset—not a depreciating asset," Musk said. (Although the company's EVs do command strong prices in the used car market, they are still, in fact, subject to depreciation, according to a search on Autotrader conducted this morning.)

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

3D-printed OLEDs could soon lead to DIY screens

ArsTechnica - Mon, 01/10/2022 - 10:28am
This 64-pixel OLED panel was 3D printed.

Enlarge / This 64-pixel OLED panel was 3D printed.

Laptops and phones with OLED displays boast rich colors at high contrasts—but they come at a premium price. Researchers from the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities (UMN) say they've found a potential solution to that price barrier by using a 3D printer that could eventually lead to people making their own OLED screens at home.

In a study published in Science Advances on Fridaythe researchers used a custom-built printer that fits on a table and "costs about the same as a Tesla Model S," Michael McAlpine, a University of Minnesota professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and senior author of the study, said in a statement accompanying UMN's announcement.

While OLED panels are typically made in large microfabrication facilities by big companies like LG Display, the research could eventually result in hobbyists being able to make cheap OLED panels in their own workshops, according to the university.

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Ars readers gave over $40,000 in our 2021 Charity Drive

ArsTechnica - Mon, 01/10/2022 - 8:57am
Giving a little joy.

Enlarge / Giving a little joy. (credit: xJasonRogersx / Flickr)

One month ago, we asked readers to donate to a couple of good causes in our 2021 Charity Drive sweepstakes. And boy, did you deliver. With the drive now complete and the donations all tallied, we can report that Ars Technica readers gave an incredible $40,261.71 to Child's Play and the EFF in the last month. That doesn't quite set a new record, but it surpasses our total charity haul for every annual charity drive except 2020. All told, Ars Charity Drive donations since 2007 now total over $435,000. Well done, Arsians!

Thanks to everyone who gave whatever they could. We're still early in the process of selecting and notifying winners of our swag giveaway, so don't fret if you haven't heard if you're a winner yet. In the meantime, enjoy these quick stats from the 2021 drive.

  • 2021 Fundraising total: $40,261.71
    • Total given to Child's Play: $15,919.90
    • Total given to the EFF: $24,341.81
  • Number of individual donations: 359
    • Child's Play donations: 166
    • EFF donations: 193
  • Average donation: $112.15
    • Child's Play average donation: $95.90
    • EFF average donation: $126.12
  • Median donation: $51.80
    • Median Child's Play donation: $50.00
    • Median EFF donation: $66.95
  • Top single donation: $4,000 (to EFF)
  • Donations of $1,000 or more: 7 (!)
  • Donations of $100 or more: 134
  • $5 or less donations: 3 (every little bit helps!)
  • Total charity donations from Ars Technica drives since 2007 (approximate): $435,126.83
    • 2021: $40,261.71
    • 2020: $58,758.11
    • 2019: $33,181.11
    • 2018: $20,210.66
    • 2017: $36,012.37
    • 2016: $38,738.11
    • 2015: $38,861.06
    • 2014: $25,094.31
    • 2013: $23,570.13
    • 2012: $28,713.52
    • 2011: ~$26,000
    • 2010: ~$24,000
    • 2009: ~$17,000
    • 2008: ~$12,000
    • 2007: ~$10,000

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All hail the Ariane 5 rocket, which doubled the Webb telescope’s lifetime

ArsTechnica - Mon, 01/10/2022 - 7:48am
The Ariane 5 rocket, with the James Webb Space Telescope, at its launch site in French Guiana.

Enlarge / The Ariane 5 rocket, with the James Webb Space Telescope, at its launch site in French Guiana. (credit: ESA/S. Corvaja)

There were two stunningly good pieces of news about the James Webb Space Telescope this past weekend. One was widely reported—that after an intricate, two-week process, the telescope completed its deployment without any difficulties. The next steps toward science operations are more conventional.

The other piece of news, less well-covered but still important, emerged during a news conference on Saturday. NASA's Mission Systems Engineer for the Webb telescope, Mike Menzel, said the agency had completed its analysis of how much "extra" fuel remained on board the telescope. Roughly speaking, Menzel said, Webb has enough propellant on board for 20 years of life.

This is twice the conservative pre-launch estimate for Webb's lifetime of a decade, and it largely comes down to the performance of the European Ariane 5 rocket that launched Webb on a precise trajectory on Christmas Day.

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Facebook’s data center plans rile residents in the Netherlands

ArsTechnica - Sun, 01/09/2022 - 5:09am
Steam rises from an industrial facility behind a wind turbine.

Enlarge (credit: Robin Utrecht | Abaca Press | Alamy)

When Susan Schaap, 61, travels from her Dutch hometown of Zeewolde to the nearest city of Leylystad, the 30-minute drive takes her through vast tulip fields, interrupted only by wind turbines and sometimes sheep. But if Facebook parent company Meta's plans are approved, her view would be replaced by the Netherlands' largest-ever data center.

Meta's data center is "too big for a small town like Zeewolde," says Schaap, who has become one of the project's most vocal opponents. "There are 200 data centers in the Netherlands already," she argues, and the move would give huge swathes of farmland to just one company, "which is not fair."

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Remarkably, NASA has completed deployment of the Webb space telescope

ArsTechnica - Sat, 01/08/2022 - 12:10pm
A crowd stands on a lawn in front of machinery adorned with solar panels.

A scale model of the James Webb Space Telescope. (credit: NASA)

For much of the world, Saturday was just another day of problems and perils. The omicron-fueled pandemic raged around the globe. New York emerged from its first snowstorm of the season. Turmoil continued in Kazakhstan and elsewhere.

But in space—in space—Saturday saw a great triumph.

After a quarter-century of effort by tens of thousands of people, more than $10 billion in taxpayer funding, and some 350 deployment mechanisms that had to go just so, the James Webb Space Telescope fully unfurled its wings. The massive spacecraft completed its final deployments and, by God, the process went smoothly.

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The weekend’s best deals: Nintendo Switch New Year’s sale, Apple Watch, and more

ArsTechnica - Sat, 01/08/2022 - 7:12am
Collage of electronic consumer goods against a white background.

Enlarge (credit: Ars Technica)

Happy weekend, and welcome back to another Dealmaster. Our latest roundup of the best tech deals we can find is headed up by a range of bargains on digital Nintendo Switch games. The Mario maker is running a sweeping "New Year Sale" over at its online eShop, with many of the more notable discounts duplicated at third-party retailers such as Amazon, Target, Best Buy, Walmart, and Humble. While the sales don't include price cuts on some of the most popular Switch games—there's nothing for ZeldaSmash Bros.Animal Crossing, or Mario Kart here—the discounts still cover a variety of titles we like and have previously recommended here at Ars.

We've curated a list of standout deals from the sale below, but among the highlights, the delightfully mischievous Untitled Goose Game is down to $10, while the Switch port of the breezy and charming puzzler Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is down to $28Clubhouse Games, which collects 51 innocently fun mini-games that span various methods of play, is also on sale for $28. Several ports of easy recommendations are discounted as well, including near-universally acclaimed RPGs Disco ElysiumThe Witcher 3, and Divinity: Original Sin 2, the gorgeous Tetris Effect, and the chaotic first-person shooter Doom Eternal. Plus, there are a handful of deals on smaller-scale indies we've highlighted in past guides, including the moody action-adventure game Olija, the comedic and genre-shifting side-scroller The Messenger, and the satisfying roguelite Dead Cells.

Now, many of the multiplatform games on sale here can often be had for less on other devices, and Nintendo still charges a bit more than we'd like for years-old first-party games in particular. (Games like Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and Super Mario Maker 2 would ideally be available for $40 by default these days, not just when they're on sale.) Nevertheless, if you're willing to pay the usual Nintendo premium for the Switch's portability, all of the deals we've curated are well below their typical street prices, and the majority of them are either at the lowest price we've tracked for the Switch or at least very close.

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Wordle is the word: Why Ars is hooked on a free, easy-to-share web game

ArsTechnica - Sat, 01/08/2022 - 6:00am
 Why Ars is hooked on a free, easy-to-share web game

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson)

My favorite gaming discovery from the end of 2021 is probably Wordle—even though I had to decipher a cryptic social media puzzle to figure out what this popular new game actually was.

As 2021 came to a close and I bundled up beneath blankets due to an apparent omicron infection, I sought out simple entertainment that I could share with friends. Because of my fatigue and unease, breaking down plot threads in TV series like The Book of Boba Fett or Succession felt like too much.

An outburst of green, yellow, and gray squares on friends' daily feeds got what little attention I could spare. What were these patterns? Why were fewer rows of boxes apparently better? And how come my favorite smart people were obsessed with it?

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Astronomers discover a strange galaxy without dark matter

ArsTechnica - Sat, 01/08/2022 - 5:10am
Somewhat blurry image of mysterious, far-off celestial body.

Enlarge / Astronomers mapped out the stars (shown here in blue) and gas (green) of the strange galaxy known as AGC 114905. (credit: Javier Román and Pavel Mancera Piña)

Three years ago, Filippo Fraternali and his colleagues spotted a half-dozen mysteriously diffuse galaxies, which looked like sprawling cities of stars and gas. But unlike almost every other galaxy ever seen—including our own Milky Way—they didn't seem to be enshrouded in huge masses of dark matter, which would normally hold those stellar metropolises together with their gravity. The scientists picked one to zoom in on, a modest-sized galaxy about 250,000 light-years away, and they pointed the 27 radio telescope antennas of the Very Large Array in New Mexico at it.

After gathering 40 hours' worth of data, they mapped out the stars and gas and confirmed what the earlier snapshots had hinted at: "The dark matter content that we infer in this galaxy is much, much smaller than what you would expect," says Fraternali, an astronomer at Kapteyn Astronomical Institute of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. If the team or its competitors find other such galaxies, that could pose a challenge for scientists' view of dark matter, the dominant perspective in the field for at least 20 years. Fraternali and his team published their findings in December in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

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The 7 most exciting PC monitors from CES 2022

ArsTechnica - Sat, 01/08/2022 - 5:00am
LG DualUp Monitor

Enlarge /  LG DualUp Monitor (28MQ780). (credit: LG)

Every year, the Consumer Electronics Show previews a massive amount of products planned for release during the year. 2022's show revealed the latest in PC monitors targeting better image quality, faster refresh rates, and features that help facilitate increasingly virtual workplaces.

There was a lot to see, so we've broken down seven of the most interesting monitors announced at CES 2022 below. We've included no concepts, no gag releases, and no gimmicks (OK, maybe a few gimmicks). Regardless, none of these products should end up as vaporware.

Here's a look at some of the most unique monitors expected to come out over the next 12 months.

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Alan Tudyk’s awkward alien is humanity’s only hope in Resident Alien S2 trailer

ArsTechnica - Fri, 01/07/2022 - 5:10pm

Alan Tudyk is back as an alien who crash-lands on Earth in the second season of Syfy's Resident Alien.

An alien (Alan Tudyk) disguised as a small-town doctor must figure out how to rescue his new human friends from an invading army of his fellow aliens in the trailer for the second season of Resident Alien, Syfy's critically acclaimed dramedy based on the Dark Horse comics created by Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse. This gem of a series easily made our list of the best TV shows of 2021.

(Some spoilers for S1 below.)

As I've written previously, Tudyk's alien (with an unpronounceable name) takes on the identity (and form) of small-town doctor Harry Vanderspeigle and promptly gets roped into investigating a local murder. Harry's mission is to wipe out the human race for the good of the planet, but he finds himself wavering in his resolve the more time he spends in the small town of Patience, Colorado.

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Radeon RX 6500 XT is bad at cryptocurrency mining on purpose, AMD says

ArsTechnica - Fri, 01/07/2022 - 4:13pm
AMD's RX 6500 XT.

Enlarge / AMD's RX 6500 XT. (credit: AMD)

AMD will begin selling its latest budget GPU, the Radeon RX 6500 XT, on January 19th. Its retail price is $199. But the ongoing GPU shortage, caused in part by cryptocurrency miners and scalpers who are snapping up every card they can get, has made it mostly impossible to get any graphics card at its list price over the past year. 

Whether the 6500 XT will be any different depends partly on supply, but AMD has also apparently designed the card to make it deliberately less appealing to miners while retaining its usefulness as an entry-level graphics card. Speaking to journalists in a press roundtable earlier this week, AMD Radeon VP Laura Smith talked about how the 6500 XT had been “optimized” for games (a transcript from a now-apparently-deleted PCWorld article is preserved here).

"We have really optimized this one to be gaming-first at that target market," Smith said. "And you can see that with the way that we configured the part. Even with the four gigs of frame buffer. That’s a really nice frame buffer size for the majority of AAA games, but it’s not particularly attractive if you’re doing blockchain-type activities or mining activities.”

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CDC head talks screwups, 4th doses, omicron’s wave in long-awaited briefing

ArsTechnica - Fri, 01/07/2022 - 3:52pm
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters stands in Atlanta, Georgia, on Saturday, March 14, 2020.

Enlarge / The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters stands in Atlanta, Georgia, on Saturday, March 14, 2020. (credit: Getty | Bloomberg)

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday held its first COVID-19 press briefing in over a year. The briefing covered a wide range of pandemic-related topics, from the rise in pediatric COVID-19 cases to the trajectory of the omicron wave and the agency's own missteps in communicating with the public.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky fielded most of the questions herself during the roughly 35-minute phone conference, as reporter after reporter expressed the need for more briefings and thanked her for being available today. Walensky noted that she had been in over 80 COVID-19 briefings held by the White House. However, the CDC had not given its own briefing on its pandemic-related work since January 6, 2021.

In the intervening year, the CDC has experienced periodic missteps and has taken heavy criticism for muddled messaging around ever-evolving pandemic guidance. The latest such episode unfolded last week after the agency said that certain individuals infected with COVID-19 could leave isolation periods early without having to test negative. The agency has stood by the decision, despite science-based criticisms and concerns that the CDC's decision was influenced by political interests, namely avoiding the problem of test shortages.

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Verizon’s 5G upgrade imposes new hotspot data limits on older phone plans

ArsTechnica - Fri, 01/07/2022 - 2:43pm
A Verizon 5G sign.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Bloomberg)

Verizon says the January 19 launch of 5G on its C-Band spectrum will bring fast wireless speeds to 100 million people in the US—far outstripping the limited geographic reach of its millimeter-wave spectrum that provides even faster 5G speeds. But there is a drawback for people who currently have unlimited 5G hotspot data on the millimeter-wave network: a monthly data cap on hotspot usage.

For the "Beyond Unlimited" Verizon smartphone plan that has existed for a few years, customers currently have 15GB of hotspot data at 4G LTE speeds and unlimited "5G Ultra Wideband" hotspot data. Going forward, the C-Band and millimeter-wave spectrum will both be included in what Verizon calls Ultra Wideband, and Verizon will no longer provide unlimited Ultra Wideband hotspot data to those who currently have it. Beyond Unlimited plan subscribers will instead get a total of 15GB of high-speed hotspot data regardless of which network slice they're using and will face hotspot data slowdowns after using that up.

Practically speaking, this may not be a big change for many people because Verizon's millimeter-wave 5G spectrum has such limited geographic availability to begin with, and the unlimited hotspot data only applies to the use of that spectrum. But it's always good to be aware of changes, given how convoluted Verizon's service plans tend to be, and it might make sense for some people to switch to newer plans with hotspot limits of either 25GB or 50GB.

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Sega cites fan backlash in surprisingly cautious take on gaming NFTs

ArsTechnica - Fri, 01/07/2022 - 2:21pm
Sega is thinking long and hard about whether it wants NFTs to become part of its brand image.

Enlarge / Sega is thinking long and hard about whether it wants NFTs to become part of its brand image.

Non-fungible tokens have become the buzziest of concepts among big-budget game publishers these days. While Ubisoft is the only big-name publisher to actually roll out in-game NFT items thus far, everyone from Square Enix to EA and Take-Two has expressed varying levels of enthusiasm for the idea. Even aging gaming brands like Konami and Atari have used NFTs as a way to quickly cash in via artificially rare digital collectibles.

So it was somewhat notable when Sega used a recent management Q&A to take a much more skeptical position on the industry's NFT mania.

To be clear, Sega isn't completely rebuking the idea of NFTs in its games. The company said it "would like to try out various experiments, and we have already started many different studies and considerations" in the space, including so-called "play-to-earn" games.

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Patch systems vulnerable to critical Log4j flaws, UK and US officials warn

ArsTechnica - Fri, 01/07/2022 - 2:02pm
Patch systems vulnerable to critical Log4j flaws, UK and US officials warn

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

Criminals are actively exploiting the high-severity Log4Shell vulnerability on servers running VMware Horizon in an attempt to install malware that allows them to gain full control of affected systems, the UK’s publicly funded healthcare system is warning.

CVE-2021-44228 is one of the most severe vulnerabilities to come to light in the past few years. It resides in Log4J, a system-logging code library used in thousands if not millions of third-party applications and websites. That means there is a huge base of vulnerable systems. Additionally, the vulnerability is extremely easy to exploit and allows attackers to install Web shells, which provide a command window for executing highly privileged commands on hacked servers.

The remote-code execution flaw in Log4J came to light in December after exploit code was released before a patch was available. Malicious hackers quickly began actively exploiting CVE-2021-44228 to compromise sensitive systems.

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