Tech News Feed

What's New in Linux 5.6? WireGuard VPN and USB4

SlashDot - 56 min 6 sec ago
Linux 5.6 "has a bit more changes than I'd like," Linus Torvalds posted on the kernel mailing list, "but they are mostly from davem's networking fixes pulls, and David feels comfy with them. And I looked over the diff, and none of it looks scary..." TechRadar reports that the new changes include support for USB4 and GeForce RTX 2000 series graphics cards with the Nouveau driver: Yes, Turing GPU support has arrived with the open source Nouveau driver, along with the proprietary firmware images, as reports. However, don't get too excited, as re-clocking doesn't work yet (getting the GPU to operate at stock clocks), and other important pieces of the puzzle are missing (like no Vulkan support with Nouveau). For the unfamiliar, Nouveau is an alternative to Nvidia's proprietary drivers on Linux, and although it remains in a relatively rough state in comparison, it's still good to see things progressing for Linux gamers with one of Nvidia's latest cards in their PC. Linux 5.6 also introduces fresh elements on the AMD front, with better reset support for Navi and Renoir graphics cards (which helps the GPU recover if it hits a problem)... Another notable move is the introduction of WireGuard support, a newcomer VPN protocol which makes a potentially nifty alternative to OpenVPN. Linux 5.6 also supports the Amazon Echo speaker, and naturally comes with a raft of other minor improvements... Linus's post also notes that for the next release's timing they'll "play it by ear... It's not like the merge window is more important than your health, or the health of people around you." But he says he hasn't seen signs that the pandemic could affect its development (other than the possibility of distraction by the news). "I suspect a lot of us work from home even normally, and my daughter laughed at me and called me a 'social distancing champ' the other day..."

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Best coolers for 2020: Cabela, Yeti, Igloo, Coleman and more compared - CNET

CNET News - 1 hour 41 min ago
If you enjoy a frosty beverage for your tailgating or game-day party, then you'll need a dependable cooler. Here are the winners out of the 18 we've tested.

Apple appears to to be acquiring virtual event company NextVR

Engadget - 1 hour 55 min ago
Apple's augmented reality plans may have received a quiet but important boost.The 9to5Mac team claims that Apple is the midst of acquiring virtual event broadcasting company NextVR in a deal worth about $100 million. While the deal hasn't clo...

Snopes Disputes 'Shakiness' of COVID-19 Origin Story Claimed By Washington Post OpEd

SlashDot - 1 hour 56 min ago
Thursday an Opinion piece in the Washington Post touted what the paper's own health policy reporter has described as "a conspiracy theory that has been repeatedly debunked by experts." That conspiracy theory argues that instead of originating in the wild, the COVID-19 virus somehow escaped from a research lab. Now the fact-checking web site Snopes has also weighed in this week, pointing out that the lab nearest the Wuhan market hadn't even published any coronavirus-related research prior to the outbreak. Instead the nearest coronavirus-researching lab was about 7 miles away, a maximum security "biosafety level 4 (BSL-4) laboratory certified to handle the world's most deadly pathogens." A February 2020 document erroneously described by several media outlets as a "scientific study" provides the supposedly science-based evidence of a virus escaping from a lab. This paper, such as it is, merely highlights the close distance between the seafood market and the labs and falsely claimed to have identified instances in which viral agents had escaped from Wuhan biological laboratories in the past... While SARS viruses have escaped from a Beijing lab on at least four occasions, no such event has been documented in Wuhan. The purported instances of pathogens leaking from Wuhan laboratories, according to this "study," came from a Chinese news report (that we believe, based on the similarity of the research described and people involved, to be reproduced here) that profiled a Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention researcher named Tian Junhua. In 2012 and 2013, he captured and sampled nearly 10,000 bats in an effort to decode the evolutionary history of the hantavirus. In two instances, this researcher properly self-quarantined either after being bitten or urinated on by a potentially infected bat, he told reporters. These events, according to the 2013 study his research produced, occurred in the field and have nothing to do with either lab's ability to contain infective agents... In sum, this paper -- which was first posted on and later deleted from the academic social networking website ResearchGate -- adds nothing but misinformation to the debate regarding the origins of the novel coronavirus and is not a real scientific study. In February the Washington Post had quoted Vipin Narang, an associate professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as saying that it's "highly unlikely" the general population was exposed to a virus through an accident at a lab. "We don't have any evidence for that," said Narang, a political science professor with a background in chemical engineering.

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Eclipse Foundation Unveils Open Source Alternative to Microsoft's 'Visual Studio Code' IDE

SlashDot - 2 hours 56 min ago
"The Eclipse Foundation just released version 1.0 of an open-source alternative to Visual Studio Code called Eclipse Theia," reports SD Times: Theia is an extensible platform that allows developers to create multi-language cloud and desktop IDEs, allowing them to create entirely new developer experiences. According to the Eclipse Foundation, the differences between Theia and Visual Studio Code are that Theia has a more modular architecture, Theia was designed from the ground to run on desktop and cloud, and Theia was developed under community-driven and vendor-neutral governance of the Eclipse Foundation. The Theia project was started by Ericsson and TypeFox in 2016, and since then it has become an integral part of cloud solutions globally. The project approached the Eclipse Foundation about becoming a potential host in 2019. Early contributors to the project include ARM, Arduino, EclipseSource, Ericsson, Google Cloud, IBM, Red Hat, SAP, and TypeFox. "We are thrilled to see Eclipse Theia deliver on its promise of providing a production-ready, vendor-neutral, and open source framework for creating custom and white-labeled developer products," announced Mike Milinkovich, the Eclipse Foundation's executive director. "Visual Studio Code is one of the world's most popular development environments. Not only does Theia allow developers to install and reuse VS Code extensions, it provides an extensible and adaptable platform that can be tailored to specific use cases, which is a huge benefit for any organization that wants to deliver a modern and professional development experience. Congratulations to all the Theia committers and contributors on achieving this milestone." InfoWorld points out that "thus far Theia is intended to be fitted into third-party products. An end-user version is on the roadmap for release later this year." But programming columnist Mike Melanson notes that "Chances are, you've already run into Theia without even realizing it, as it already serves as the basis for Red Hat's CodeReady Workspaces, the Eclipse Foundation's own Eclipse Che, and Google Cloud Shell."

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Amazon reportedly in talks to test warehouse workers for COVID-19

Engadget - 3 hours 10 min ago
Amazon might follow up its COVID-19 safety measures with full-fledged testing for the associated virus. Reuters has obtained notes that reportedly reveal discussions with Abbott and Thermo Fisher about the prospect of testing warehouse workers, incl...

Aquarium coronavirus lockdown gives dolphins chance to meet a sloth - CNET

CNET News - 3 hours 21 min ago
With human visitors gone, celebrity sloth Chico hangs out with dolphins at the Texas State Aquarium.

How the Telephone Failed Its Big Test During 1918's Spanish Flu Epidemic

SlashDot - 3 hours 56 min ago
Fast Company's technology editor harrymcc writes: When the Spanish flu struck in 1918, the U.S. reacted in ways that sound eerily familiar, by closing public places and telling people to stay at home. The one technology that promised to make isolation less isolating was the telephone, which was used for commerce, education, and even news distribution. But the phone itself got caught up in the flu's damaging impact on society, and AT&T ended up running ads asking people not to make calls if at all possible. I wrote about this little-known tale of technology's promise and pitfalls for Fast Company. The article shows some strange glimpses of a very different time. "A New York Telephone ad even warned that operators might inquire about the nature of a call to ensure that it was truly necessary."

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Google Search will highlight government's COVID-19 announcements

Engadget - 4 hours 28 min ago
Google will make announcements related to the coronavirus pandemic a lot more visible within Search results. The tech giant has introduced a way for websites to highlight special announcements, so that people can instantly see COVID-19-related inform...

Mathematical Proof of the ABC Conjecture Will Be Published

SlashDot - 4 hours 56 min ago
AmiMoJo shares a report from Nature: After an eight-year struggle, embattled Japanese mathematician Shinichi Mochizuki has finally received some validation. His 600-page proof of the abc conjecture, one of the biggest open problems in number theory, has been accepted for publication. Acceptance of the work in Publications of the Research Institute for Mathematical Sciences (RIMS) is the latest development in a long and acrimonious controversy over the mathematicians' proof. Mochizuki is chief editor but was not involved in the review. Eight years ago, Mochizuki posted four massive papers online, claiming to have solved the abc conjecture. The work baffled mathematicians, who spent years trying to understand it. Then, in 2018, two highly respected mathematicians said they were confident that they had found a flaw in Mochizuki's proof -- something many saw as death blow to his claims. The "abc conjecture," the problem Mochizuki claims to have solved, expresses a profound link between the addition and multiplication of integer numbers. Any integer can be factored into prime numbers, its 'divisors': for example, 60 = 5 x 3 x 2 x 2. The conjecture roughly states that if a lot of small primes divide two numbers a and b, then only a few, large ones divide their sum, c. A proof, if confirmed, could change the face of number theory, by, for example, providing a novel approach to proving Fermat's last theorem, the legendary problem formulated by Pierre de Fermat in 1637 and solved only in 1995. Some experts say Mochizuki failed to fix the fatal flaw in the solution. "I think it is safe to say that there has not been much change in the community opinion since 2018," says Kiran Kedlaya, a number theorist at the University of California, San Diego. Another mathematician, Edward Frenkel of the University of California, Berkeley, says, "I will withhold my judgment on the publication of this work until it actually happens, as new information might emerge."

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ESPN2 will air 12 hours of esports coverage on April 5th

Engadget - 5 hours 44 min ago
TV networks are already trying to fill the void in sports coverage left by the COVID-19 pandemic, but ESPN is going all-out. The broadcaster's ESPN2 channel is airing a 12-hour ESPN Esports Day on April 5th starting at 12PM Eastern, and there wi...

Pandemic Shutdowns Will Help the Economy, Too

SlashDot - 5 hours 56 min ago
nut (Slashdot reader #19,435) writes: A study by economists Sergio Correia, Stephan Luck and Emil Verner suggests that the best way to save your economy is to save your people. The authors looked at the economic impact of the Spanish influenza pandemic of 1918 on different U.S. cities. They concluded that the earlier, more forcefully and longer cities responded, the better their economic recovery. A faculty affiliate from the Harvard Department of Economics writes in Bloomberg: [C]ities that implemented aggressive social distancing and shutdowns to contain the virus came out looking better. Implementing these policies eight days earlier, or maintaining them for 46 days longer were associated with 4% and 6% higher post-pandemic manufacturing employment, respectively. The gains for output were similar. Likewise, faster and longer-lasting distancing measures were associated with higher post-pandemic banking activity... [T]his is at least consistent with the arguments my Bloomberg Opinion colleagues Noah Smith and Michael Strain have already put forward for why easing distancing measures too early would be potentially devastating for the economy... [I]t looks like the things we should be doing to save lives are also what we should be doing to save the economy.

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Lonely? Need to talk? Chat confidentially with the HearMe app for free - CNET

CNET News - 6 hours 10 min ago
Don't let social distancing turn into outright isolation. An app lets strangers lend you a friendly ear, and it's completely free.

PlayStation 5 vs. Xbox Series X specs: Using a PC to test next-gen consoles' power - CNET

CNET News - 6 hours 30 min ago
I took the specs list of both next-generation consoles and built a PC to get an idea of what games could look like with the extra power.

Not Just 'The Death of IT'. Cringely Also Predicts Layoffs For Many IT Contractors

SlashDot - 6 hours 56 min ago
Last week long-time tech pundit Robert Cringely predicted "the death of IT" in 2020 due to the widespread adoption of SD-WAN and SASE. Now he's predicting "an even bigger bloodbath as IT employees at all levels are let go forever," including IT consultants and contractors. My IT labor death scenario now extends to process experts (generally consultants) being replaced with automation. In a software-defined network, whether that's SD-WAN or SASE, so much of what used to be getting discreet boxes to talk with one another over the network becomes a simple database adjustment. The objective, in case anyone forgets (as IT, itself, often does) is the improvement of the end-user experience, in this case through an automated process. With SD-WAN, for example, there are over 3,000 available Quality of Service metrics. You can say that Office 365 is a critical metric as just one example. Write a script to that effect into the SD-WAN database, deploy it globally with a keyclick and you are done... It's slowly dawning on IBM [and its competitors] that they have to get rid of all those process experts and replace them with a few subject matter experts. Here's the big lesson: with SD-WAN and SASE the process no longer matters, so knowing the process (beyond a few silverbacks kept on just in case the world really does end) isn't good for business. Cringely predicts the downgrading of corporate bonds will also put pressure on IBM and its competitors, perhaps ultimately leading to a sale or spin-off at IBM. "Either they sell the parts that don't make money, which is to say everything except Red Hat and mainframes, or they sell the whole darned thing, which is what I expect to happen." With that he predicts thousands of layoffs or furloughs — and while the bond market puts IBM in a bigger bind, "this could apply in varying degrees to any IBM competitors."

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Zoom will enable waiting rooms by default to keep trolls out

Engadget - 7 hours 2 min ago
Zoom will make a couple of important security changes in an effort to prevent trolls from crashing shared video calls on the app. To be exact, it will require passwords to enter calls and will switch on waiting rooms by default starting on April 5th....

Get an unlocked Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus for $570 - CNET

CNET News - 7 hours 28 min ago
Save $130 on last year's flagship phone just in time for it to inherit the Galaxy S20's hot new camera features.

Y Combinator Company 'Flexport' Is Shipping PPE To Frontline Responders

SlashDot - 7 hours 56 min ago
The Y Combinator company Flexport is a San Francisco-based freight-forwarding and customs brokerage company. (Its investors include Google Ventures and Peter Thiel's Founders Fund.) But on March 23rd Flexport announced they were now re-focusing all their resources to get critical supplies to frontline responders combating COVID-19. They've joined a team that announced on Friday announced "we're shipping full cargo planes filled with PPE to protect frontline responders," citing a partnership with Atlas Air and United Airlines. Atlas Air delivered a dedicated charter plane for this mission on Thursday, April 2nd. Originating in Shanghai, the plane contained over 143,000 pounds of PPE for medical systems in California, including approximately: - 4,500,000 medical masks - 116,000 disposable medical protection coveralls - 121,300 surgical gowns For this volume of goods, significant capacity is needed on a plane. However, global travel has plunged because of the outbreak, meaning that passenger planes which used to carry cargo are grounded, and the air market capacity is extremely limited. And hospitals, who in normal situations aren't importing their own goods, can't arrange cargo on a plane on their own... Crews from United Airlines volunteered to help, arriving at SFO [San Francisco International Airport] at 6AM to unload and unpack the plane. The cargo was then put on a truck and delivered directly to hospitals that will distribute the PPE across the state based on need... Up next, we're moving cargo to New York and will share updates next week. Please continue to help us spread the word to support the response efforts. They're raising money on GoFundMe, and this "Frontline Responders Fund" has so far raised over $6 million from 15,800 donors. Their page notes that on Thursday former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger "personally helped us deliver a trucking shipment from MedShare with 49,000 donated masks to a hospital in Los Angeles, California." Their page also notes donations have funded the trucking of goods across America from nonprofits, including: All Hands and All Hearts Smart Response, who delivered over 43,000 units of gloves, gowns, face masks, goggles, and hand sanitizer to emergency rooms and hospitals in New York City and Southern California. Donate PPE, who delivered over 3,750 N95 respirator masks to hospitals in Brooklyn, NY yesterday One of their supporters is actor Clark Gregg, who plays agent Coulson in five Marvel movies and the TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. He records personalized video greetings for fans through a web site called Cameo, and through Wednesday he donated 100% of the money earned to the Frontline Responders Fund.

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Recommended Reading: Inside the PlayStation 5 with Mark Cerny

Engadget - 8 hours 30 min ago
PlayStation 5 uncovered: The Mark Cerny tech deep dive Richard Leadbetter, Eurogamer If you're craving even more explanation on the PlayStation 5 than lead architect Mark Cerny shared during his in-depth chat a couple weeks ago, get comfy. Eur...

The Morning After: Apple's iPad turns 10

Engadget - 9 hours 15 min ago
Hey, good morning! You look fabulous. Engadget's review of the first iPad ten years ago lauded its potential, even if the first version of tablet software couldn't do much for one's productivity. Since then, Apple has slowly gotten aroun...