Computers & Linux News

Note 10 Plus vs. Note 9: How to choose the best Galaxy phone - CNET

CNET News - 1 hour 44 min ago
Want the best Android phone with a stylus? That's the Samsung Galaxy Note. But now you need to choose between the Note 10 Plus or the less expensive Note 9.

Lincoln Aviator, Corsair and Nautilus will now offer Monochromatic Package - Roadshow

CNET News - 2 hours 14 min ago
The expensive yet chic package was previously only available on the flagship Navigator.

Giant Clams Manipulate Light To Assist Their Symbiotic Partner

SlashDot - 2 hours 14 min ago
Special cells in giant clams shift the wavelength of light to protect them from UV radiation and increase the photosynthetic activity of their symbionts, shows research from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology -- originally intended as a photonics investigation. Phys.Org reports: Like corals, giant clams are important players in reef ecosystems and live in symbiosis with photosynthetic Symbiodiniaceae algae. The clams also have special cells, known as iridocytes, that can manipulate light via layers of nanoreflectors within each cell. Earlier work has shown that these iridocytes scatter and reflect light to increase the photosynthetic efficiency of the Symbiodiniaceae algae. Now, a team of researchers at the Red Sea Research Center and the Photonics Laboratory have discovered another way that iridocytes help the symbiont to photosynthesize. The researchers studied the morphology and optical characteristics of iridocytes in the giant clam Tridacna maxima and found that they absorb UV radiation and re-emit it as longer wavelength, photosynthetically useful light. Ram Chandra Subedi, one of the study's authors, explains that the iridocytes contain alternating layers of high-refractive index guanine crystal and lower refractive index cytoplasm. Compressing and relaxing these layers enables the cell to tune its effect on light. As a result, "the guanine palettes not only reflect harmful UV radiation but also absorb it, and emit light at higher wavelengths which are safe and useful for photosynthesis," he explains. This increases the amount of photosynthetically active radiation available to the algal symbiont and also helps protect both the clams and algae from UV radiation. This photoprotective effect enables giant calms to live in very shallow tropical waters where there is enough light for photosynthesis, but also potentially harmful UV radiation levels. The report adds that this research may help explain the mantle colors of giant clams. "The idea is that the vibrant colors of giant clams are not due to optical differences in the tissue, but rather differences in the distribution or abundance of symbionts relative to iridocytes in each individual," reports Phys.Org. The research has been published in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science.

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The roughneck US cowboys who drilled Britain's secret WWII oil wells - CNET

CNET News - 5 hours 6 min ago
Wars aren't fought only on battlefields. Here's the little-known story of the gang of Americans who searched for black gold in the heart of besieged Britain.

Visiting the secret oil wells of World War II - CNET

CNET News - 5 hours 14 min ago
Step into the forest to discover long-abandoned machinery that tells a fascinating story of wartime courage and cooperation.

Jack Dorsey Donates $3 Million To US Mayors For Universal Basic Income Pilot Programs In 15 Cities

SlashDot - 5 hours 14 min ago
Jack Dorsey, the billionaire CEO of Twitter and Square, is donating $3 million to help fund Mayors for a Guaranteed Income (MGI), a new coalition of 15 mayors across the country who want to explore the idea of universal basic income -- a recurring payment to residents -- in their cities. Forbes reports: The coalition was created on June 29 by Michael Tubbs, the 29 year-old mayor of Stockton, California, who has been running a guaranteed income pilot program in his city since the winter of 2018. The majority of the gift will help the mayors create pilot programs for universal basic income (UBI) in their cities, which include Newark, Atlanta, Seattle, Los Angeles, Compton, Long Beach, Pittsburgh, Oakland and more. The rest of the money will go to a new pilot program in Stockton, which Tubbs will announce in the fall. For now, the roster of mayors in MGI are moderate to liberal-leaning, but that will soon change. Dorsey is making the donation from #startsmall, his philanthropic limited liability company, which he launched on April 7 by transferring $1 billion worth of Square shares -- then 28% of his net worth -- to the LLC. Dorsey said he would primarily focus his charitable efforts on Covid-19 relief, and also fund efforts to improve girl's health and education, as well as UBI experimentation. Tubbs hopes that with more successful experiments of guaranteed income around the country, the federal government will follow with a national guaranteed income program that will extend beyond the pandemic.

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Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey pledges $3M to guaranteed income programs - CNET

CNET News - 8 hours 14 min ago
A network of more than a dozen mayors is battling the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Power Pioneer Invents New Battery That's 90% Cheaper Than Lithium-Ion

SlashDot - Thu, 2020-07-09 23:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Lithium-ion batteries play a central role in the world of technology, powering everything from smartphones to smart cars, and one of the people who helped commercialize them says he has a way to cut mass production costs by 90% and significantly improve their safety. Hideaki Horie, formerly of Nissan Motor Co., founded Tokyo-based APB Corp. in 2018 to make "all-polymer batteries" -- hence the company name. The making of a cell, every battery's basic unit, is a complicated process requiring cleanroom conditions -- with airlocks to control moisture, constant air filtering and exacting precision to prevent contamination of highly reactive materials. The setup can be so expensive that a handful of top players like South Korea's LG Chem Ltd., China's CATL and Japan's Panasonic Corp. spend billions of dollars to build a suitable factory. Horie's innovation is to replace the battery's basic components -- metal-lined electrodes and liquid electrolytes -- with a resin construction. He says this approach dramatically simplifies and speeds up manufacturing, making it as easy as "buttering toast." It allows for 10-meter-long battery sheets that can be stacked on top of each other "like seat cushions" to increase capacity, he said. Importantly, the resin-based batteries are also resistant to catching fire when punctured. In March, APB raised $74 million, which is tiny by the wider industry's standards but will be enough to fully equip one factory for mass production slated to start next year. Horie estimates the funds will get his plant in central Japan to 1 gigawatt-hour capacity by 2023.

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Amazon Will Pay $135,000 To Settle Alleged US Sanction Violations

SlashDot - Thu, 2020-07-09 22:30
In a statement (PDF) issued this week, the U.S. Treasury Department notes that Amazon has agreed to pay $134,523 to settle potential liability over alleged sanctions violations. TechCrunch reports: The charges specifically pertain to goods and services sent to people located in Crimea, Iran and Syria, which are covered by Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctions, between November 2011 and October 2018. The Treasury Department also states that the retail giant failed to report "several hundred" transactions in a timely manner. The department adds: "Amazon also accepted and processed orders on its websites for persons located in or employed by the foreign missions of Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria. Additionally, Amazon accepted and processed orders from persons listed on OFAC's List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (the "SDN List") who were blocked pursuant to the Narcotics Trafficking Sanctions Regulations, the Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators Sanctions Regulations, the Transnational Criminal Organizations Sanctions Regulations, the Democratic Republic of the Congo Sanctions Regulations, the Venezuela Sanctions Regulations, the Zimbabwe Sanctions Regulations, the Global Terrorism Sanctions Regulations, and the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Sanctions Regulations." The department doesn't believe there was anything malicious going on, rather an issue with Amazon's system, which failed to flag shipments to sanctioned areas.

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More Pre-Installed Malware Has Been Found In Budget US Smartphones

SlashDot - Thu, 2020-07-09 21:50
Pre-installed malware has been discovered on another budget handset connected to Assurance Wireless by Virgin Mobile. ZDNet reports: Back in January, cybersecurity researchers from Malwarebytes discovered unremovable malware bundled with the Android operating systems on the Unimax (UMX) U686CL, a low-end handset sold by Assurance Wireless as part of the Lifeline Assistance program, a 1985 U.S. initiative which subsidizes telephone services for low-income families. There was no way to remove a pair of apps on the handsets which would install other software on the devices without the user's knowledge. Now, Malwarebytes has uncovered another budget handset with similar security issues. The smartphone in question is the ANS (American Network Solutions) UL40, running Android OS 7.1.1. [...] In the same way as the UMX U686CL, two apps -- a settings app and wireless update app -- are compromised. However, these apps are not infected with the same malware variants; instead, Collier says the "infections are similar but have their own unique infection characteristics." The Settings app is detected as Downloader Wotby, a Trojan that is able to download apps externally. The researchers did not find any evidence of malicious apps in a third-party store linked to the software but noted this doesn't mean that malicious apps could not be added or find their way into the store at a later date. The WirelessUpdate app is considered a Potentially Unwanted Program (PUP) that is also able to automatically install apps without user permission or knowledge. While the app does function as an over-the-air updater for security fixes and as an updater to the operating system itself, the software also installs four variants of HiddenAds, a Trojan family found on Android handsets. Thankfully, Malwarebytes has instructions on how to stop HiddenAds infections.

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Google says it's getting better at updating phones, a persistent problem for Android - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2020-07-09 21:29
The search giant said it rolled out its COVID-19 contact tracing tools to 2 billion devices over the span of a month.

TikTok Mulls Changes to Business to Distance Itself From China

SlashDot - Thu, 2020-07-09 21:10
Bytedance said it's evaluating changes to the corporate structure of its TikTok business as U.S. concerns grow over the parent company's Chinese origins. Bloomberg reports: Executives are discussing options such as creating a new management board for TikTok and establishing a separate headquarters for the app outside of China to distance its operations from Beijing, according to a person familiar with the discussions. Short-video and music app TikTok currently doesn't have its own headquarters separate from Bytedance, which was founded in China and is incorporated in the Cayman Islands. TikTok is considering a number of locations for a global base, the person familiar with the plans said, asking not to be named discussing information that's not public. Its five largest offices are in Los Angeles, New York, London, Dublin and Singapore. "We will move forward in the best interest of our users, employees, artists, creators, partners, and policy makers," TikTok said in a statement.

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xMEMS Announces World's First Monolithic MEMS Speaker

SlashDot - Thu, 2020-07-09 20:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from AnandTech: In the last few years, semiconductor manufacturing has become more prevalent and accessible, with MEMS (Microelectromechanical systems) technology now having advanced to a point that we can design speakers with characteristics that are fundamentally different from traditional dynamic drivers or balanced armature units. xMEMS' "Montara" design promises to be precisely such an alternative. xMEMS is a new start-up, founded in 2017 with headquarters in Santa Clara, CA and with a branch office in Taiwan. To date the company had been in stealth mode, not having publicly released any product till today. The company's motivations are said to be breaking decades old speaker technology barriers and reinventing sound with new innovative pure silicon solutions, using extensive experience that its founders have collected over years at different MEMS design houses. The manufacturing of xMEMS' pure silicon speaker is very different to that of a conventional speaker. As the speaker is essentially just one monolithic piece manufactured via your typical lithography manufacturing process, much like how other silicon chips are designed. Due to this monolithic design aspect, the manufacturing line has significantly less complexity versus voice coil designs which have a plethora of components that need to be precision assembled -- a task that is quoted to require thousands of factory workers. The company didn't want to disclose the actual process node of the design, but expect something quite crude in the micron range -- they only confirmed that it was a 200mm wafer technology. Besides the simplification of the manufacturing line, the MEMS speaker features higher consistency membrane movement which allows higher responsiveness and lower THD for activate noise cancellation, compared to a more variable voice coil design. The speaker's frequency response covers the full range from 10Hz to up to 20KHz, and the design is said to be able to compete with planar magnetic designs, promising to have only 0.5% THD at 200Hz -- 20KHz. "As these speakers are capacitive piezo-driven versus current driven, they are able to cut power consumption to fractions of that of a typical voice coil driver, only using up 42uW of power," adds AnandTech.

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Indian Army Personnel Banned From Using 89 Apps

SlashDot - Thu, 2020-07-09 20:01
schwit1 writes: Indian troops will not be allowed to use some of the world's most well-known applications. The move goes further than for civilians when the government banned 59 apps, including TikTok, from general use. According to India Today, the Indian Army on Wednesday asked its personnel to delete 89 apps from their phones, including apps such as Facebook, Truecaller, Instagram and games like PUBG. "The latest instruction comes as a bid to plug leakage of sensitive national security information from phones of armed forces personnel," the report says. "The Army has set July 15 as the deadline for the security forces personnel to remove the 89 apps from their phones." Apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, and YouTube are O.K. as long as the personnel don't reveal their army background on the platforms.

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Wake up, Mr. West: Kanye's anti-vax conspiracies are dangerous and ill-informed - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2020-07-09 19:57
Commentary: The rapper says "they want to put chips inside of us" and is "extremely cautious" about a COVID-19 vaccine. He shouldn't be.

Yes, Marvel will present at virtual Comic-Con 2020. Here's what's planned - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2020-07-09 19:22
Marvel plans to show off its upcoming comics and a special Marvel documentary on Disney Plus. But no word yet on any big MCU presentations like usual.

Apple's ARM-Based Macs To Support Thunderbolt

SlashDot - Thu, 2020-07-09 19:20
tlhIngan writes: For those worried that the transition Apple is doing to ARM-based Macs will drop Thunderbolt, Apple has stated that they will continue to support Thunderbolt. This was a worry since Thunderbolt is primarily an Intel design (formerly known as Light Peak) with Apple collaboration, and that none of Apple's ARM based devices support it (not even the ARM Developer Transition Kit).

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Save 30% on a 4-pack of Treatlife smart light switches - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2020-07-09 18:53
Take control of your light fixtures with a bundle of these single-pole switches for just $33

Portland Approves 10% Cap On Fees That Food Delivery Apps Can Charge Restuarants

SlashDot - Thu, 2020-07-09 18:40
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Oregon Live: The Portland City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to make it illegal for third-party food delivery services like DoorDash and Grubhub to collect more than 10% in commission fees from city restaurants amid the coronavirus pandemic. Portland joins other cities, including Seattle, Los Angeles and Philadelphia, that have instituted similar caps in recent months. Those cities have limits at 15%. New Jersey last week put a 10% service fee cap that applies to all restaurants in the state. Food delivery company fees can be as high as 30%. The new rule also makes it illegal for DoorDash, Uber Eats and other companies to decrease payments to delivery workers in order to make up lost money from restaurant fees, the ordinance said. The city council approved an amendment to the order Wednesday to also include a 5% limit if the delivery service allows a restaurant to transport their own food or if a customer orders through the app and picks up their items at the business. The restrictions would end 90 days after Portland's state of emergency order lifts. No date has been set to lift the order, which has been in place since March 12. Delivery app companies would be liable for up to $500 in civil penalties if the order is violated and the fine would accrue every day and for every restaurant overcharged. The restaurant would have to sue the company involved if they aren't given refunds.

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Get Aukey's pint-sized 100-watt Power Delivery charger for 26% off - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2020-07-09 18:22
$41 buys you a USB-C charger that can charge a 16-inch MacBook Pro in under two hours.