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.

New Bluetooth standard copies best features of Apple, Qualcomm’s proprietary tech

ArsTechnica - Thu, 01/09/2020 - 3:29pm
Promotional of Google Pixel Buds on desk.

Enlarge / Google's Pixel Buds true wireless earphones, which use Bluetooth. (credit: Google)

Bluetooth SIG, the industry group that maintains the Bluetooth wireless communications standard used in numerous devices, announced a major update to the standard called Bluetooth LE Audio this week.

Bluetooth SIG previously introduced Bluetooth LE with a focus on power efficiency, but that emphasized improvements for low-bandwidth devices. Even though audio is one of the most common uses of Bluetooth, it still faces some frustrating bottlenecks and pitfalls. Bluetooth LE Audio brings improvements specifically oriented toward audio devices.

The previous audio solution isn’t going anywhere, though; companies making Bluetooth audio devices will be able to choose between the old tech and the new based on their goals.

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

US Government-funded Android phones come preinstalled with unremovable malware

ArsTechnica - Thu, 01/09/2020 - 2:26pm
US Government-funded Android phones come preinstalled with unremovable malware

Enlarge (credit: portal gda / flickr)

An Android phone subsidized by the US government for low-income users comes preinstalled with malware that can't be removed without making the device cease to work, researchers reported on Thursday.

The UMX U686CL is provided by Virgin Mobile's Assurance Wireless program. Assurance Wireless is an offshoot of the Lifeline Assistance program, a Federal Communications Commissions plan that makes free or government-subsidized phones service available to millions of low-income families. The program is often referred to as the Obama Phone because it expanded in 2008, when President Barack Obama took office. The UMX U686CL runs Android and is available for $35 to qualifying users.

Researchers at Malwarebytes said on Thursday that the device comes with some nasty surprises. Representatives of Sprint, the owner of Virgin Mobile, meanwhile said it didn't believe the apps were malicious.

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Misleading political ads are the user’s problem to avoid, Facebook says

ArsTechnica - Thu, 01/09/2020 - 2:10pm
Photograph of busy open-plan office.

Enlarge / Facebook's election "War Room" on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018. (credit: David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images)

Following months of criticism for its decision to allow candidates for political office to tell outright lies in advertising, Facebook is trying to correct course not by changing advertiser behavior but by telling users to opt out of being shown certain ads.

Facebook today announced a change to its political ad system that will "expand transparency." Sometime during 2020, users in all countries where political ads feature "paid for by..." disclaimers, including the United States, will gain an account control for seeing "fewer political and social issue ads" on both Facebook and Instagram. US users are expected to get the feature sometime this summer—well into the depths of the 2020 US presidential campaign season.

Facebook said in October that all content posted by politicians and political candidates, including paid advertising, would be exempt from any of the company's fact-checking processes and would not be held to company standards barring intentionally misleading content. That policy, or lack thereof, has continued to come under fire as other key Internet and social media players, including Google and Twitter, amended their policies to limit or ban political advertising on their platforms.

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Ukraine airliner that crashed in Iran likely shot down, US officials say

ArsTechnica - Thu, 01/09/2020 - 1:25pm
A battered red shoe with a bow on it sits in a rugged field.

Enlarge / A child's shoe is pictured on January 8, 2020, at the scene of a Ukrainian airliner that crashed shortly after take-off near Imam Khomeini airport in the Iranian capital Tehran. US officials say that the plane was likely shot down by an Iranian air defense system. (credit: BORNA GHASSEMI / Getty Images)

The cause of the crash on Wednesday of a Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737-800 outside of Tehran is still in doubt. But Ukrainian officials had suggested that it was possible the aircraft had been shot down by an Iranian-launched air defense missile—and now US intelligence officials have suggested they have evidence that this is the case.

If true, that means that the deaths of the 176 passengers aboard the aircraft were the direct result of the tensions between the United States and Iran.

Video from a witness in Tehran showed the aircraft in flames shortly after takeoff before it crashed in a fireball at a soccer field outside the city. The crew never radioed for help, and telemetry from the 737 was cut off suddenly while it was still in flight.

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Samsung’s Galaxy XCover Pro brings back the removable battery

ArsTechnica - Thu, 01/09/2020 - 1:00pm

Samsung's "Galaxy XCover Pro" seems to be bringing back the company's line of rugged smartphones, but this one is more than some extra protective plastic slapped onto an existing design. The phone has—get this—a removable battery, a feature that has all but disappeared from the market. There are a handful of very low-end smartphones that still have removable batteries, but as a mid-ranger, this would be the highest-end removable-battery phone on the market.

It's hard to say if the XCover Pro is currently official or not. Samsung's Nordic division posted a CES press release that detailed the never-before-seen XCover Pro, complete with specs and pictures, alongside several other previously announced phones. A later update scrubbed all mention of the XCover from the press release. The release said the phone would be for sale in Finland on January 31 for €499 ($554), but since the release was pulled, it's unclear if that is still accurate.

Samsung Nordic listed the phone with a Samsung Exynos 9611 SoC, an eight-core, 10nm chip with four Cortex A73 cores and four Cortex A53 cores. This would make it a mid-range phone on par with the "Galaxy A" series. The phone has 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage that's expandable thanks to a microSD slot, and that sweet 4050mAh removable battery.

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Fox executive teases Browncoats with hints of possible Firefly revival

ArsTechnica - Thu, 01/09/2020 - 12:39pm
Promotional cast image of TV show Firefly.

Enlarge / The 2002-2003 space western drama was canceled after just one season but remains a cult favorite. (credit: 20th Century Fox Television)

Hope springs eternal, especially if you're a diehard fan of Firefly, the 2002-2003 space western created by Joss Whedon that was canceled by Fox after a single season. But the plucky crew and passengers aboard the Firefly-class spaceship Serenity live on in the hearts of self-styled Browncoats everywhere. Heck, NASA astronaut Steven Swanson loved the show (and the 2005 spin-off film Serenity) so much that he took the DVDs with him on a Space Shuttle Atlantis mission in 2007. So it's not surprising that an off-hand comment by a Fox executive has renewed rumors of a possible revival.

This latest round of revival chatter started when Firefly's former showrunner Tim Minear recently tweeted out an old photo from the last day of shooting on Firefly, just as Fox entertainment president Michael Thorn was doing a press junket for the Television Critics Association. So naturally the question came up.

"The macro answer is, any time we look at one of our classic titles, if there's a way to reinvent it for today so it's as resonant now as the original was, and is, to the fans, we're wide open," Thorn told The Wrap. "In this crowded marketplace, if you can start with some kind of brand awareness and IP that has a vocal support and, in this case, a crazy, passionate love for it, you're ahead of the game."

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Verizon’s great FiOS offer to me: Pay $50 extra for slower Internet

ArsTechnica - Thu, 01/09/2020 - 11:36am
A Verizon FiOS TV remote control.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | wdstock)

Verizon today claimed that it is "disrupt[ing] the cable industry" with new broadband-and-TV deals that eliminate "traditional cable bundles" and hidden fees, and the move immediately received positive press from the likes of The Wall Street Journal and Consumer Reports.

Verizon claims the new deals are available immediately for both new and existing subscribers. But actually getting one of these great deals is, so far, difficult or impossible if you already have Verizon FiOS service.

I have FiOS broadband and TV at my home in Massachusetts, so I was able to test whether Verizon would provide one of the new deals without any hassle. This probably won't surprise you, but I wasn't able to get one of the new deals at all, and a Verizon rep I spoke with didn't know when the system would be fixed.

Read 17 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Dealmaster: Fast-charge your iPhone with this $12 Anker Lightning cable

ArsTechnica - Thu, 01/09/2020 - 10:39am
 Fast-charge your iPhone with this $12 Anker Lightning cable

Enlarge (credit: Valentina Palladino)

The Dealmaster today includes a number of great sales on accessories, and of note is a cable deal from Anker. Now you can get the Anker Powerline II USB-C to Lightning cable for $11.99 at Amazon.

Anker's mobile accessories have a solid track record, and we particularly like this cable because it's MFi-certified. That means the cable has passed Apple's compliance rules and certification tests and is officially "approved" for Apple product use. Now, you could use any Lightning cable to charge your iPhone or iPad, but accessories that are not MFi-certified could overheat more easily while in use. Some non-MFi cables also don't have the strongest connector, so the end may not be as securely connected to your device's Lightning cable while plugged in.

Overall, devices with MFi certification are generally more reliable and safer to use with Apple products. They can also be more expensive than non-certified accessories, so getting Anker's Powerline II 6-foot cable for $11.99 is a great deal. You can also get a pack of two cables for $19.99, which is $12 off the pack's original price of $31.99.

Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Amazon’s Ring fired at least four employees for snooping on user videos

ArsTechnica - Thu, 01/09/2020 - 10:29am
Smart doorbell between a door and a brick wall.

Enlarge / Ring video doorbell. (credit: Ring)

Amazon's Ring line of consumer home surveillance products has drawn quite a bit of attention in recent weeks for how easily bad actors outside the company have been able to access users' accounts. But for Ring, as with many other firms, some of the greatest security risks may come from inside the company.

In response to congressional questioning, Amazon this week admitted to four incidents in the past four years where employees accessed video data they were not supposed to. "Each of these individuals involved in these incidents was authorized to view video data," Amazon said in a letter (PDF), but in all cases, "the attempted access to that data exceeded what was necessary for their job functions."

Ring fired all those employees following "swift action to investigate" and told Congress that following each incident, the company "has taken multiple actions to limit such data access to a smaller number of team members." Additionally, the company said, it "periodically reviews" employees' access to data "to verify they have a continuing need for access" in order to do their jobs.

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Paul Krugman’s no good, very bad Internet day

ArsTechnica - Thu, 01/09/2020 - 9:19am

 

Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, professor at the City University of New York, and New York Times columnist, experienced a chain of what appear to be Internet scam mishaps based on posts to Twitter that he later deleted. Initially, Krugman claimed to be "on the phone with my computer security service, and as I understand it someone compromised my IP address and is using it to download child pornography."

This is a common phone scam trope, and it appears that Krugman finally realized it was a scam—with the New York Times security team responding to assist him. But that wasn't until he tweeted again in confusion about another scam in the form of a spam email regarding a deposit to a nonexistent Bitcoin wallet.

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Panasonic breaks out of VR’s “headset” bubble with fresh “eyeglasses” design

ArsTechnica - Thu, 01/09/2020 - 8:46am

At this point, it's clear there are a number of persistent issues holding virtual reality back from the world-changing potential many industry watchers saw just a few years ago. VR technology as a whole is still plagued by problems like relatively high costs, limited resolutions/field of view, awkward natural motion controls, and a general lack of "killer app" software.

But despite slow progress on many of the remaining problems with VR, one area of the technology hasn't seen much significant progress: comfort and form factor. Nearly four years after the launch of the Oculus Rift, the market is still married to that unit's same bulky, ski-goggle-style headset design, which blocks almost the entire top half of your face with a large display rectangle held in place via headstraps or over-the-skull supports.

At CES this week, Panasonic seems set to become the first company making a serious effort at progress on this important VR front. The company's new virtual reality concept product isn't a "headset" in the standard VR mold but instead "boasts a comfortable fit that makes users feel as if they were wearing eyeglasses."

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This Nissan concept is next year’s electric alternative to the Rogue SUV

ArsTechnica - Thu, 01/09/2020 - 7:16am

When it comes to concept cars, there are two main kinds. There's the "half of this technology doesn't exist yet" kind, like the Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR we covered earlier this week. And then there's the "new model we're putting into production soon, but with a couple of cool touches that won't." The Nissan Ariya is the second kind, and after first appearing at 2019's Tokyo auto show, it has crossed the Pacific to meet the crowds at CES. And it's going to be an important car for the beleaguered Japanese OEM as it's almost certainly destined to go on sale next year as an all-electric alternative to the best-selling Nissan Rogue SUV.

Truth be told, the Ariya did exist as the first kind of concept—sort of. In 2017 Nissan unveiled the IMX at that year's Tokyo show, which we learned would be powered by the company's next-generation battery-electric powertrain. Comparing the two in the gallery above, you can see how the Ariya is much closer to road legality. It has conventional doors, with conventional door handles. There are side view mirrors. The bodywork doesn't have large vertical slashes or vents that could swallow an errant pedestrian's arm. And the interior is a little fashion-forward but basically sensible.

It's still officially a concept, and Nissan is keeping most of the technical specs to itself for now, but we do know that it sports the company's new twin-motor powertrain. The company also brought a modified Nissan Leaf to CES to show off the technology, which it's calling e-4ORCE. It even let some journalists drive it, which might make this the first time I've felt a pang of FOMO regarding my decision not to fly to Las Vegas this year.

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Firefox gets patch for critical 0-day that’s being actively exploited

ArsTechnica - Wed, 01/08/2020 - 7:03pm
Firefox gets patch for critical 0-day that’s being actively exploited

Enlarge (credit: Mozilla)

Mozilla has released a new version of Firefox that fixes an actively exploited zero-day that could allow attackers to take control of users' computers.

In an advisory, Mozilla rated the vulnerability critical and said it was "aware of targeted attacks in the wild abusing this flaw." The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said one or more exploits were "detected in the wild" and warned that attacks could be exploited to "take control of an affected system." The Mozilla advisory credited researchers at China-based Qihoo 360 with reporting the flaw.

No other details about the attacks were immediately available. Neither Mozilla nor Qihoo 360 responded to emails asking for more information.

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In flashpoint for the rebellion against big tech, Sonos sues Google for patent infringement

ArsTechnica - Wed, 01/08/2020 - 4:15pm
Photograph of cylindrical smart speaker.

Enlarge / The Sonos One SL. (credit: Jeff Dunn)

In a move that has become the top talking point of CES and a flashpoint for an industry's pent-up frustrations, smart audio company Sonos has sued Google for infringement of five of its patents, The New York Times reports.

The publicly traded, Santa Barbara, California-based audio company sued Google in a federal court and the US International Trade Commission. The goal is to block sales of some of Google's products (including smart speakers and smartphones, among other things) and to collect financial damages.

According to the article, Sonos "handed over the effective blueprints to its speakers" to Google in 2013 during an effort to make Google's services work on said speakers. Sonos didn't anticipate it then, but Google later launched smart speakers that competed directly with Sonos' offerings. After Google's speakers hit the market, Sonos employees purchased some and used packet sniffing to analyze how the Google speakers worked with each other. They say they discovered that the speakers used technological solutions that Sonos has previously developed and patented. (They claim to have found the same when testing Amazon's Echo speakers, too.)

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Boeing finally completes SLS core stage, packs it for Mississippi tests

ArsTechnica - Wed, 01/08/2020 - 3:59pm

On Wednesday, Boeing moved the completed core stage of NASA's Space Launch System rocket from the Michoud Assembly Facility onto the space agency's Pegasus Barge. When weather conditions are favorable, the barge will carry the 64-meter rocket from the rocket factory near New Orleans to the Stennis Space Center in southern Mississippi.

"It was a beautiful day here," said John Shannon, Boeing's program manager for the SLS rocket, in a teleconference with reporters. "We had a spectacular view of this new national asset."

Finishing assembly of the core stage represents an important milestone for Boeing, which has spent most of the 2010s working with NASA on designing the SLS rocket and building the first core stage. Boeing began cutting metal on the very first barrels for this core stage, which will fly NASA's Artemis 1 mission, back in 2015 at the Louisiana-based facility. NASA has spent nearly $10 billion on the SLS rocket's core-stage development so far.

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Never-before-seen virus may be behind mystery outbreak in China

ArsTechnica - Wed, 01/08/2020 - 3:40pm
A purple background with 5 large, round, pink viral particles, each surrounded by a corona

Enlarge / Colored image of coronaviruses made from a transmission electron microscopy. (credit: Getty | BSIP)

A mysterious outbreak of viral pneumonia linked to a wild-animal market in the Chinese city of Wuhan may be caused by a never-before-seen virus, according to preliminary reports.

Officials in neighboring areas, meanwhile, are screening travelers for symptoms and planning quarantine zones to try to prevent any potential spread of the mystery disease.

As of Sunday, January 5, Wuhan Municipal Health Commission reported a total of 59 cases, including seven critically ill patients. There have been no reported deaths.

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NYC broadband plan calls for fiber everywhere, with ISPs sharing network

ArsTechnica - Wed, 01/08/2020 - 2:10pm
An image of New York City skyscrapers, overlaid with lines meant to represent a broadband network.

Enlarge / New York City. (credit: Getty Images | Busakorn Pongparnit)

The New York City government has released an "Internet Master Plan" that calls for universal broadband throughout the five boroughs, relying on open-access fiber networks that can be used by multiple ISPs.

The plan, announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio and Chief Technology Officer John Paul Farmer yesterday, says New York City "will prioritize and optimize 'open-access' or 'neutral-host' infrastructure, which can be shared by multiple operators to lower costs, increase competition, minimize physical disruption to the city, and incentivize private-sector investments to reach and serve customers." New York City wants to ensure universal access to both wired and mobile Internet, with a fiber network that offers home Internet and provides bandwidth to mobile services.

The plan continues:

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No, cops aren’t using SiriusXM to find criminals. Here’s how they do it

ArsTechnica - Wed, 01/08/2020 - 1:31pm
Heavily modified photograph of jeep driving across desert terrain.

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images)

An Ars reader this week drew our attention to a news story out of Southern California. The case involved a man wanted on suspicion of attempted murder and other alleged crimes. He fled from one county to another, but according to the article, sheriff's deputies were able to locate him by "sending a 'ping' to his Sirius satellite radio," after which the suspect was found and arrested.

The mysterious "ping" grabbed the reader's attention, as well as several Ars staffers: what, exactly, did law enforcement do? How did it work? And what are the implications for everyone driving around with a SiriusXM satellite radio in their car?

The case

A representative for Sirius was unable to say if the company was involved in any specific way in this particular case or even if the case did indeed involve an actual Sirius product. Whatever happened, calling it a "Sirius radio ping" was probably a misnomer, the company told Ars, as Sirius satellite radio itself is a one-way operation. The actual radios have no geolocating capacity and can't "ping" anything back to anyone.

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Chrome to start blocking annoying notification requests

ArsTechnica - Wed, 01/08/2020 - 11:33am

In a blog post yesterday, Google outlined plans for a less intrusive permission UI for Chrome's notification feature. Chrome's current permission UI spawns a pop-up box near the address bar, which covers Web content and is one of the many annoying pop-ups that can spawn when a website loads, alongside "subscribe to our site/newsletter" and "this site uses cookies."

Google's post says that, while notifications are "an essential capability for a wide range of applications," Chrome's permission pop-up is also "a common complaint" among users that "interrupt[s] the user's workflow and result[s] in a bad user experience." To address these complaints, Chrome 80 will introduce a quieter notification UI. Interestingly, Mozilla announced basically the same changes to Firefox recently.

The quieter UI will block notifications by default, rather than spawn a pop-up asking if users want to allow notifications or not. On the desktop, a message appears in the address bar saying "Notifications blocked," and clicking on the adjacent bell icon will allow the user to enable notifications. On mobile, there is still a pop-up, but it is less intrusive than before, being reduced to a single bar instead of a full-screen pop-up.

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Locke and Key is finally coming to Netflix with an appropriately spooky trailer

ArsTechnica - Wed, 01/08/2020 - 10:49am

Netflix trailer for Locke and Key, the streaming giant's new series based on the graphic novel series by Joe Hill.

Three siblings who have lost their father discover a collection of magical keys at their ancestral home and must keep them from falling into the hands of a demonic figure in the spookily atmospheric official trailer for Locke and Key, a Netflix adaptation of Joe Hill's award-winning graphic novel series of the same name.

(Mild spoilers for the comics below.)

It's a compelling storyline. Following the brutal murder of their father, Rendell, the surviving members of the Locke family—mom Nina and three children, Tyler, Kinsey, and Bode—arrive at Key House, Rendell's Massachusetts ancestral home. Shortly after arrival, Bode, the youngest sibling, finds a magical key, and then another, and another, each with its own special power.

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