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.

Pixel 5a leak shows a headphone jack, flat screen, and a familiar design

ArsTechnica - Tue, 02/23/2021 - 12:46pm

Steve Hemmerstoffer, aka OnLeaks, is back with our first look at a render of Google's next midrange phone, the Pixel 5a. Hemmerstoffer previously nailed the design of the Pixel 4a all the way back in January 2020, so it's smart to take his Pixel 5a info seriously.

There really isn't much to see in the renders since the Pixel 5a looks identical to previous Pixel devices like the Pixel 4a 5G and the Pixel 5, and it isn't that much different from the Pixel 4a. In this case, Google isn't fixing what isn't broken. The design looks perfectly modern with slim bezels and a hole-punch camera, and there's really no need to demand change for change's sake.

Like a few other midrange phones, the Pixel 5a offers some design decisions you might actually prefer to a flagship smartphone. There's a flat-screen without any curved sides, a headphone jack, and a rear capacitive fingerprint reader. Hemmerstoffer says the phone has a plastic back, stereo speakers, and a 6.2-inch display, which is a size increase over the 5.8-inch Pixel 4a.

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Lenovo updates ThinkPad lineup with 16:10 screens and more

ArsTechnica - Tue, 02/23/2021 - 12:38pm

Today, Lenovo announced a broad overhaul of its ThinkPad laptop lineup, led by the popular X13 and X13 Yoga.

Lenovo has added many features previously seen in its X1 Nano model to various other laptops across the ThinkPad line. Among those is a continuing shift to 16:10 displays, which most productivity users will greatly appreciate compared to the more media-focused 16:9 aspect ratio found in recent prior models.

There's also human-presence detection; the laptops use a radar sensor to detect when you're sitting down in front of them, and they wake up accordingly. And of course, like so many similar laptops in this day and age, you can get these machines with fingerprint readers built into the power buttons now.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Facebook to reverse Australia news ban after lawmakers alter bill

ArsTechnica - Tue, 02/23/2021 - 11:57am
Facebook logo on a street sign outside a wooded campus.

Enlarge / Facebook's Menlo Park, California, headquarters as seen in 2017. (credit: Jason Doiy | Getty Images)

Facebook has apparently emerged victorious from its standoff with the entire nation of Australia, as lawmakers in that country have agreed to amend a proposed law that would have required Facebook to pay publishers for news content linked on its platform.

The social networking giant last week banned all news posts both in and from Australia to protest a bill under discussion in Parliament. Users inside Australia became unable to share news links of any kind from any source, and users outside Australia became unable to share links from Australian media. Facebook at the time argued that the proposed law "fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content."

Facebook's ban turned out to be an extremely blunt instrument, blocking sharing not only of news inside Australia but also of public communications from the government, pages for nonprofit organizations and charities, and other Australian organizations that tried to share links to off-Facebook sites. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison blasted Facebook over the ban, saying last week, "We will not be intimidated by BigTech seeking to pressure our Parliament as it votes on our important News Media Bargaining Code."

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

SEC halts trading of iced tea company that pivoted to blockchain

ArsTechnica - Tue, 02/23/2021 - 11:46am
SEC halts trading of iced tea company that pivoted to blockchain

Enlarge (credit: Lipton / Timothy B. Lee)

Back in 2017, we reported on the bizarre story of the Long Island Iced Tea Company rebranding itself as the Long Blockchain Corp. This happened at the peak of the last big blockchain boom, with bitcoin's price approaching $20,000 and dubious initial coin offerings raising millions of dollars. The name change led to an immediate tripling of the company's stock.

Beyond the name change, the Long Blockchain Corp's blockchain strategy was vague. The company said it was "shifting its primary corporate focus toward the exploration of and investment in opportunities that leverage the benefits of blockchain technology."

The company initially planned to buy bitcoin mining equipment, but those plans were scrapped within weeks. The NASDAQ stock exchange soon got fed up and booted the company, forcing investors to trade the stock over the counter.

Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

The Ars Technica low-end USB shootout

ArsTechnica - Tue, 02/23/2021 - 11:21am
Both portable SSDs were great—as were the SanDisk thumb drives, each in their own price and performance class. The other thumb drives... not so much.

Enlarge / Both portable SSDs were great—as were the SanDisk thumb drives, each in their own price and performance class. The other thumb drives... not so much. (credit: Jim Salter)

If you shop for thumb drives on Amazon, you'll discover one thing very quickly—they pretty much all have 4.5+ star overall reviews, but the top reviews all tend to be very, very negative. This isn't much help to somebody trying to look for the best gear to buy, of course—and neither are the scads of "review guides" scattered across the net, which seem to take manufacturer numbers based on raw interface speeds at face value.

This is a problem that wound up biting me pretty hard personally since becoming Ars Technica's newest technology reporter. Properly testing a laptop means loading about 13GiB's worth of benchmark utilities on it. This is normally something I'd do across the network... but new laptops tend not to have Ethernet jacks in the first place. That generally leaves either Wi-Fi or thumb drives—and I don't want to screw up my family's Wi-Fi experience while I'm testing.

Today, we're going to do a little real-world demonstration to help guide you in your portable storage purchases. We're not looking for super high-end hard drive replacements, here—only those under $100 (in some cases, under $10!) and hopefully those with effective sneakernet tools.

Read 19 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Sony announces new PSVR hardware for PlayStation 5

ArsTechnica - Tue, 02/23/2021 - 10:19am
You probably want to put the PlayStation VR headset on your head, not on top of a new PlayStation 5, for an ideal use case. But, hey, you do you.

Enlarge / You probably want to put the PlayStation VR headset on your head, not on top of a new PlayStation 5, for an ideal use case. But, hey, you do you. (credit: Sam Machkovech)

A new generation of PlayStation VR hardware, including a new controller designed specifically for VR, will be coming to the PlayStation 5 sometime after this year, Sony announced today.

The short announcement is light on details and doesn't include any photos or prototypes of the new headset or controller. But it does mention that the next PlayStation VR will include a higher resolution and field of view than the 2016 original, which is stuck at a somewhat dated 1920x1080 resolution.

For context, last year's $299 Oculus Quest 2 came in at a total resolution of 3664x1600, and that's for an untethered standalone headset with much less horsepower than the PS5. Valve's high-end Index headset, meanwhile, sports a 135 degree field of view, much wider than the ~100 degrees on PSVR (cheaper modern headsets generally have closer to 90 to 100 degree view fields, though).

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Samsung now updates Android for longer than Google does

ArsTechnica - Tue, 02/23/2021 - 9:20am
Samsung now updates Android for longer than Google does

Enlarge (credit: Ron Amadeo)

Samsung is upping the ante on Android updates and offering four years of security updates on many of its Android devices. The company's full update package is now three years of major OS updates and four years of security updates, besting even what Google offers on the Pixel line.

In the announcement, Samsung says, "Over the past decade, Samsung has made significant progress in streamlining and speeding up its regular security updates. Samsung worked closely with its OS and chipset partners, as well as over 200 carriers around the world, to ensure that billions of Galaxy devices receive timely security patches." Samsung has experimented with bringing four years of updates to its own Exynos SoC devices, but now it looks like the company is getting Qualcomm models on board as well.

Keep in mind that these are not necessarily monthly security updates. Samsung says it's delivering four years of "monthly or quarterly" updates, depending on the age of the device. Samsung's current security bulletin page has the Galaxy S9 (2018) on the monthly update plan, while the Galaxy S8 is on the quarterly plan. So it sounds like three years of monthly security updates and one more year of quarterly updates.

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Jeep asked to change name of its SUV by the Cherokee Nation

ArsTechnica - Tue, 02/23/2021 - 8:59am
The SUV currently known as a Jeep Cherokee.

Enlarge / The SUV currently known as a Jeep Cherokee. (credit: Jeep)

It's time for Jeep to reconsider calling its SUVs "the Cherokee" and "Grand Cherokee," says Cherokee Nation Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr. This marks the first time the Cherokee Nation has directly asked Jeep to stop using its name for vehicles, something the brand has done for the past 45 years.

Although the Cherokee Nation has commented on the name in the past, this time, the debate was reignited by Car and Driver, which reached out to Chief Hoskin for comment on the topic.

"I'm sure this comes from a place that is well-intended, but it does not honor us by having our name plastered on the side of a car. The best way to honor us is to learn about our sovereign government, our role in this country, our history, culture, and language and have meaningful dialogue with federally recognized tribes on cultural appropriateness. I think we're in a day and age in this country where it’s time for both corporations and team sports to retire the use of Native American names, images and mascots from their products, team jerseys, and sports in general," he told the publication.

The first Jeep Cherokee arrived in model year 1974, and although the nameplate was retired in favor of the Jeep Liberty between 2002 and 2014, Jeep continued to sell a Grand Cherokee model throughout that time. In fact, the Grand Cherokee is Jeep's best seller, with nearly 210,000 finding homes in the US in 2020.

Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Musk: Starlink will hit 300Mbps and expand to “most of Earth” this year

ArsTechnica - Tue, 02/23/2021 - 8:52am
A stack of 60 Starlink satellites being launched into space, with Earth in the background.

Enlarge / A stack of 60 Starlink satellites launched in 2019. (credit: SpaceX)

Starlink broadband speeds will double to 300Mbps "later this year," SpaceX CEO Elon Musk wrote on Twitter yesterday. SpaceX has been telling users to expect speeds of 50Mbps to 150Mbps since the beta began a few months ago.

Musk also wrote that "latency will drop to ~20ms later this year." This is no surprise, as SpaceX promised latency of 20ms to 40ms during the beta and had said months ago that "we expect to achieve 16ms to 19ms by summer 2021."

It sounds like the speed and latency improvements will roll out around the same time as when Starlink switches from beta to more widespread availability. Two weeks ago, Starlink opened preorders for service expected to be available in the second half of 2021, albeit with limited availability in each region.

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Chip shortage may threaten PlayStation 5 supplies at Christmas

ArsTechnica - Tue, 02/23/2021 - 8:44am
To call Sony's PlayStation 5 "in demand" would be an understatement.

Enlarge / To call Sony's PlayStation 5 "in demand" would be an understatement.

The global semiconductor shortage is threatening to constrain PlayStation 5 supplies throughout the rest of this year, even as Sony’s gaming chief insisted the company would be able to produce “decent numbers” of its new console in the second half of 2021.

The PS5 is one of the most sought-after tech products of recent months, with shipments selling out as soon as they reached stores when the console was launched in November last year.

Coronavirus lockdowns have only added to gamers’ demand for the latest consoles and software, fueling what are expected to be record profits for Sony’s gaming division in the financial year to March. Sony upgraded its gaming unit’s annual revenue forecasts earlier this month primarily thanks to improving sales of game software, services, and accessories.

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A politician who said politicians shouldn’t run NASA wants to run NASA

ArsTechnica - Tue, 02/23/2021 - 8:09am
Then Rep. Bill Nelson (D-Fla., at bottom) undergoing zero-gravity training onboard a KC-135 along with other astronaut trainees in 1985. On his right is schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe, who died along with six other crew members in the <em>Challenger</em> disaster.

Enlarge / Then Rep. Bill Nelson (D-Fla., at bottom) undergoing zero-gravity training onboard a KC-135 along with other astronaut trainees in 1985. On his right is schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe, who died along with six other crew members in the Challenger disaster. (credit: Bettman | Getty Images)

On Monday, a rumor that has simmered in Washington for several weeks boiled to the surface—that former US Senator Bill Nelson, a Democrat from Florida, is a leading contender to become the next NASA administrator.

The publication Breaking Defense publicly shared the rumor on Twitter, noting that Nelson has a "strong" relationship with President Biden and understands how Congress works. Nelson, who is 78 years old, lost his 2018 bid for reelection to the Senate. He had served six terms as a member of the House of Representatives and three terms in the upper house.

Two sources told Ars that Nelson is pushing hard to become administrator and is leveraging his friendly relationship with Biden to do so. "This is more than a rumor," one source said. However, it is also not a done deal, as after the rumor broke, there was pushback in the space community about the appointment of Nelson to the position, who has a long and at times contentious history in the space community.

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The bitcoin blockchain is helping keep a botnet from being taken down

ArsTechnica - Tue, 02/23/2021 - 7:00am
Rows of 1950s-style robots operate computer workstations.

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson / Ars Technica)

When hackers corral infected computers into a botnet, they take special care to ensure they don’t lose control of the server that sends commands and updates to the compromised devices. The precautions are designed to thwart security defenders who routinely dismantle botnets by taking over the command-and-control server that administers them in a process known as sinkholing.

Recently, a botnet that researchers have been following for about two years began using a new way to prevent command-and-control server takedowns: by camouflaging one of its IP addresses in the bitcoin blockchain.

Impossible to block, censor, or take down

When things are working normally, infected machines will report to the hardwired control server to receive instructions and malware updates. In the event that server gets sinkholed, however, the botnet will find the IP address for the backup server encoded in the bitcoin blockchain, a decentralized ledger that tracks all transactions made using the digital currency.

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$200 Puro Pro hybrid over-the-ear headphones are almost perfect

ArsTechnica - Tue, 02/23/2021 - 6:00am

Last December, a representative for Puro Sound Labs offered me a review sample of the company's flagship Bluetooth hybrid headphones. Her timing couldn't have been better—I had surgery scheduled for January 8 that would put me on the couch all day, every day, for two weeks straight with nothing to do but watch movies and television (ideally without driving my wife and kids insane).

The Puro Pro is an over-the-ear design, which can be connected to audio sources via Bluetooth 5.0 pairing or a simple headphone cord. It offers just about any feature you might dream up for a pair of headphones: safety volume limiting (configurable for either 85dBA or 95dBA), 30+ hour battery life, content control via buttons on the left can, active noise cancellation, and even an inline mic for phone calls.

At $200, the Puro Pro costs more than I'd normally spend on a pair of headphones for watching late-night TV and flying on the occasional airplane (my two primary use cases). But after spending several hours per day with the Puro Pro for a couple of months, I would drop the cash in a heartbeat.

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Here’s the first of Hyundai’s new 800-volt EVs—the Ioniq 5

ArsTechnica - Tue, 02/23/2021 - 12:00am

On Tuesday morning in Korea, Hyundai premiered its newest battery electric vehicle. The company has resisted the temptation to start off with a bombastic SUV like General Motors' reborn GMC Hummer or a handsome sedan like the Porsche Taycan, although those are both in the pipeline. Instead, the Ioniq brand will launch with that most in-demand of automobiles, the midsize crossover. In this case, a keenly styled crossover called the Ioniq 5, which will also be the first BEV to use Hyundai's new E-GMP architecture.

The production Ioniq 5 looks remarkably similar to the concept car that preceded it, the 45. At first glance, it appears to be channeling the boxy good looks of late-1980s hot hatches. But don't be fooled by the proportions; it's roughly the same size as Toyota's best-selling RAV4 crossover. The big 20-inch wheels and short front and rear overhangs conceal a 118-inch (3,000mm) wheelbase that translates to acres of interior room for the occupants.

Beyond plenty of space and a flat floor, the interior has another surprise. The center console can slide, moving back by up to 5.5 inches (140mm). This gives the front occupants the option of leaving out the other side of the car, as well as giving rear passengers access to the console's storage, USB ports, and wireless charging pad.

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Epic will pay off class-action loot-box settlement with in-game currency

ArsTechnica - Mon, 02/22/2021 - 4:15pm
What... what are you doing with that hammer?

Enlarge / What... what are you doing with that hammer? (credit: Epic Games)

Epic is set to settle a class-action lawsuit over its use of randomized loot boxes in Fortnite's "Save the World" mode by paying affected players with in-game currency. Rocket League players who previously purchased loot boxes in that game will also receive an in-game payment.

While Epic never offered loot boxes in Fortnite's mega-popular battle royale mode, it let "Save the World" players purchase "loot llamas" full of random items until early 2019 (amid international outcry about the randomized loot-box business and its similarity to gambling). Shortly after ending the practice, Epic was faced with a class-action lawsuit alleging, among other things, that it had "psychologically manipulate[d] its young players into thinking they will 'get lucky.'"

Under a proposed settlement for that suit, which Epic says has achieved preliminary approval, all players who purchased a loot llama at any time will be rewarded with 1,000 V-Bucks (worth roughly $8). Even though it's settling a US lawsuit, Epic says this same deal will apply to all Fortnite players globally.

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Humans had never seen a spacecraft land on another planet—until now

ArsTechnica - Mon, 02/22/2021 - 4:10pm
A rover's-eye view of a forbidding rocky landscape.

Panoramic image of Mars taken by Perseverance on February 20, 2021. (credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Never before, in all of our millions of years, have humans directly observed a spacecraft landing on another planet. Until now.

On Monday, NASA released a video (embedded below) that included several viewpoints from the descent of Mars Perseverance to the surface of the red planet last week. A camera on the back shell captured a view of the parachute deploying, and cameras on the descent stage and rover itself captured the final seconds of the landing.

"I can, and have, watched those videos for hours," said NASA's Al Chen, the lead for the entry, descent, and landing for Perseverance. "I find new stuff every time. I invite you to do so as well."

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Microsoft throws Google under the bus in European news fight

ArsTechnica - Mon, 02/22/2021 - 3:28pm
Exterior photograph of a glass-walled Microsoft office.

(credit: Robert Scoble / Flickr)

Microsoft is throwing its weight behind a European effort to force Big Tech companies to pay for the right to link to news articles. Google and Facebook have strongly opposed such proposals in both Europe and Australia, describing them as an attack on the open Web. Microsoft disagrees.

"Access to fresh, broad, and deep press coverage is critical to the success of our democracies," said Microsoft Vice President Casper Klynge in a press statement.

Specifically, Microsoft is supporting calls for Europe to adopt a mandatory arbitration rule like the one now under consideration in Australia. Such a rule would increase the leverage of news publishers by giving them a way to force technology giants to the bargaining table.

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Huawei’s new $2,800 foldable phone copies Samsung’s Galaxy Fold line

ArsTechnica - Mon, 02/22/2021 - 1:59pm

Huawei isn't going to let a minor inconvenience like US sanctions stop it from designing new phones. Today, the company announced the next device in its flagship foldable-smartphone line: the Huawei Mate X2. While 2019's Mate X (X1?) was an innovative-but-impractical form factor with a single wraparound display on the outside of the phone, the Mate X2 follows Samsung's lead and goes with a book-style foldable with a rigid phone screen on the outside and a foldable tablet screen on the inside. It looks just like a Galaxy X Fold 2 but with a few interesting design evolutions.

Huawei spent a lot of time saying the Mate X2 was better than the Samsung Galaxy Fold 2, pointing out bigger interior and exterior screens as well as a smaller hinge area with slimmer bezels on the front. One thing Huawei didn't compare is the price, which starts at a whopping $2,784, while the Galaxy Fold 2 is $2,000.

The exterior screen is a 6.45-inch, 2700×1160, 90Hz OLED, while the interior screen is an 8-inch, 2480×2200, 90Hz OLED. Both are bigger than those in the Fold 2, which has a 6.2-inch outside display and a 7.6-inch inside display. Huawei's work to slim down bezels looks impressive, and it really feels like the company got the aspect ratios right. Huawei managed to fit a bog-standard 21:9 display on the front—it looks like a normal smartphone from some angles. The interior display is nearly two 21:9 display put together, with what Huawei called a "8:7.1 aspect ratio." It's hard to say what the interior aspect ratio "should" be, since Android tablet apps are nearly nonexistent, but at least this will be good for split-screen app usage.

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AT&T and Frontier have let phone networks fall apart, Calif. regulator finds

ArsTechnica - Mon, 02/22/2021 - 1:44pm
A pair of scissors being used to cut a wire coming out of a landline telephone.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | CalypsoArt)

AT&T and Frontier have let their copper phone networks deteriorate through neglect since 2010, resulting in poor service quality and many lengthy outages, a report commissioned by the California state government found. Customers in low-income areas and areas without substantial competition have fared the worst, the report found. AT&T in particular was found to have neglected low-income communities and to have imposed severe price increases adding up to 152.6 percent over a decade.

The report was written in April 2019 but kept private because data submitted by the carriers was deemed confidential and proprietary. The report finally became public after the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) ruled in December 2020 that a redacted version had to be released by mid-January.

A summary of the CPUC-commissioned report identified six key findings:

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Software bugs reportedly keep Arizona inmates jailed past release dates

ArsTechnica - Mon, 02/22/2021 - 11:17am
Very few people want to spend a single second longer than they have to in a place like this.

Enlarge / Very few people want to spend a single second longer than they have to in a place like this. (credit: txking | Getty Images)

A failure to update critical prison management software has kept hundreds of incarcerated people in Arizona behind bars longer than they should be, according to a whistleblower report.

Employees for the Arizona Department of Corrections have known about the bug since 2019, Phoenix-based NPR affiliate KJZZ reported. The flaw follows a change to state law that the software simply cannot handle and has not been updated to deal with.

Arizona has one of the highest imprisonment rates in the country, with drug possession convictions being one of the highest drivers behind the numbers. An amendment (PDF) to Arizona state law in June 2019 created a mechanism through which inmates convicted of certain nonviolent drug offenses can earn credits toward early release. Eligible inmates who complete a program such as a GED equivalent or substance abuse treatment while imprisoned can earn three days' credit for every seven days served and shorten the length of time they spend behind bars to 70 percent of their assigned sentence.

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