Tech News Feed

Lego Ideas raids the archives and puts forgotten Lego sets up for a vote - CNET

CNET News - 3 hours 59 min ago
To celebrate its 10th anniversary, Lego Ideas could finally give you the Lego version of the International Space Station you've always wanted.

Vizio's 2019 4K TVs arrive with promise of AirPlay 2 and HomeKit support

Engadget - 4 hours 3 min ago
Vizio has released its 2019 4K TV lineup to the market and announced that Apple's AirPlay 2 and HomeKit will be coming to current and older models. While the company is best known for budget 4K TVs with impressive image quality, this time it's going...

Ultra-private Tor browser officially arrives on Android

Engadget - 5 hours 36 min ago
VPNs and incognito modes can help, but if you want to jump to a whole 'nother privacy level, there's the infamous Tor Browser. It has finally come out of beta and arrived on Android in a stable release, the Tor Project announced. That will make it a...

Aladdin review: Guy Ritchie's Disney remake dazzles and surprises - CNET

CNET News - 5 hours 38 min ago
This live action update isn't quite a whole new world, but it's still one worth visiting despite its forgettable villain and unsettling Genie CGI.

Washington Becomes First State To Legalize Human Composting

SlashDot - 5 hours 38 min ago
Governor Jay Inslee signed legislation Tuesday making Washington the first state to approve composting as an alternative to burying or cremating human remains. The Associated Press reports: It allows licensed facilities to offer "natural organic reduction," which turns a body, mixed with substances such as wood chips and straw, into about two wheelbarrows' worth of soil in a span of several weeks. Loved ones are allowed to keep the soil to spread, just as they might spread the ashes of someone who has been cremated -- or even use it to plant vegetables or a tree. Supporters say the method is an environmentally friendly alternative to cremation, which releases carbon dioxide and particulates into the air, and conventional burial, in which people are drained of their blood, pumped full of formaldehyde and other chemicals that can pollute groundwater, and placed in a nearly indestructible coffin, taking up land. State law previously dictated that remains be disposed of by burial or cremation. The law, which takes effect in May 2020, added composting as well as alkaline hydrolysis, a process already legal in 19 other states. The latter uses heat, pressure, water and chemicals like lye to reduce remains.

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Bosch's reworked automotive sensors can help control flying taxis

Engadget - 7 hours 13 min ago
As companies from Boeing and Uber to Lilium work to develop flying taxis, Bosch wants to make the sensors they'll require more accessible. The company says conventional aerospace technology is too expensive and bulky to use in autonomous flying vehic...

NASA is giving out frequent flyer points to Mars - CNET

CNET News - 7 hours 14 min ago
NASA is giving regular schmoes a chance to send their name on the Mars 2020 mission (and rack up miles while they're at it).

Facebook flooded with fake news ahead of EU elections, study finds - CNET

CNET News - 8 hours 38 min ago
Millions of Facebook users were exposed to disinformation, advocacy nonprofit Avaaz says.

'Car Owners Should Control Data Collected By Cars'

SlashDot - Tue, 2019-05-21 23:30
Bill Hanvey, president and CEO of the Auto Care Association, argues that car owners (or lessees) should be the only ones who can control their car's data. "He or she should be aware of the data the car transmits, have control over it and determine who can see it," Hanvey writes. Many have argued this position for the privacy angle, but Harvey takes a different facet of this conversation, pointing out that carmakers control our data to limit where we get repairs or services done. If policymakers don't act on behalf of consumers, Hanvey writes, car and truck owners may be forced to go to select service centers for repairs, circumventing the more than 180,000 independent repair shops across the country that have all the tools needed to work on today's newest cars, but lack access to the necessary diagnostic information needed to complete the job. An anonymous reader shares the report: Because of the increasing complexity of cars and the Internet of Things, data is critical to repair and service. When carmakers control the data, they can choose which service centers receive our information. They're more likely to share our data exclusively with their branded dealerships than with independent repair shops, which could have the edge in price and convenience. However, independent repair shops currently make 70 percent of outside warranty repairs throughout the country. There are more than 180,000 independent repair shops across the country; most have all the tools needed to work on today's connected and complex cars, and most of today's highly trained service technicians can perform anything from basic tuneups to sophisticated electronic diagnostics. But without access to car data, they're working blindfolded, unable to see the diagnostic information they need. The solution is simple. The only person who should control car data is the car owner (or lessee). He or she should be aware of the data the car transmits, have control over it and determine who can see it. Digitization of the auto industry is, ultimately, a good thing. Today's connected cars are paving the way for autonomous vehicles and vehicle-to-vehicle communications, and eventually vehicle-to-infrastructure communications making our roads safer. But unlike Alexa and Nest, consumers are unaware of the degree to which their own car collects and processes data. It's clear, because of its value -- as high as $750 billion by 2030 -- carmakers have no incentive to release control of the data collected from our vehicles. Policymakers, however, have the opportunity to give drivers control -- not just so that they can keep their data private but also so that they can share it with the people they want to see it. This will let car owners maintain what they've had for a century: the right to decide who fixes their car.

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Apple sells refreshed version of LG's UltraFine 4K display

Engadget - Tue, 2019-05-21 23:10
Just because Apple has stopped selling the UltraFine 5K doesn't mean it has given up on LG's monitors altogether. In sync with the launch of the eight-core MacBook Pro, the company has quietly started selling a new version of LG's UltraFine 4K. The...

How to watch SpaceX launch its first 60 Starlink satellites - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2019-05-21 23:00
After multiple delays, SpaceX are gearing up to send its first 60 Starlink satellites.

Now there's a dedicated Steam Chat app for Android and iOS

Engadget - Tue, 2019-05-21 22:39
Last year Valve released Steam Chat for the desktop, and now its messaging service is fully mobile with a dedicated app for Android and iOS. Naturally, it cribs the desktop version's features, including: Friends List - See who's in game or online a...

A Solution For Loneliness: Get Out and Volunteer, Research Suggests

SlashDot - Tue, 2019-05-21 22:02
"Loneliness is rampant, and it's killing us," writes Kasley Killam for Scientific American. "Anywhere from one quarter to one half of Americans feel lonely a lot of the time, which puts them at risk for developing a range of physical and mental illnesses, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and depression." Killam surfaces several studies that found volunteering to be an effective strategy to help combat this widespread health problem. From the report: In a recent survey of over 10,000 people in the UK, two-thirds reported that volunteering helped them feel less isolated. Similarly, a 2018 study of nearly 6,000 people across the US examined widows who, unsurprisingly, felt lonelier than married adults. After starting to volunteer for two or more hours per week, their average level of loneliness subsided to match that of married adults, even after controlling for demographics, baseline health, personality traits, and other social involvement. These benefits may be especially strong the older you are and the more often you volunteer. Participating in volunteer opportunities may help alleviate loneliness and its related health impact for several reasons. The first and most obvious is that it's a meaningful way to connect with others and make new friends. Second, volunteering can make up for the loss of meaning that commonly occurs with loneliness. Research using the UCLA Loneliness Scale and Meaning in Life Questionnaire has shown that more loneliness is associated with less meaning. This makes sense, given our deeply rooted need for belonging. By volunteering for social causes that are important to us, we can gain a sense of purpose, which in turn may shield us from negative health outcomes. For example, purpose in life has been linked to a reduced likelihood of stroke and greater psychological well-being. Third, loneliness and isolation can lead to cognitive decline, such as memory loss. But according to the neuroscientist Lisa Genova, people who regularly engage in mentally stimulating activities build up more neural connections and are subsequently more resilient to symptoms of Alzheimer's. So, volunteering is one way to stay engaged and stimulated, rather than isolated and lonely, and thereby protect against cognitive decline.

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Astronomers see zombie star rise from the dead of rare cosmic collision - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2019-05-21 21:37
Two white dwarfs fused together, rising from the dead.

Tesla is bringing back Free Unlimited Supercharging, kind of - Roadshow

CNET News - Tue, 2019-05-21 21:20
The big T is reportedly bringing back one of its most popular features in an effort to move its inventory of pre-hardware-update Models S and X.

Cable TV Customer Satisfaction Falls Even Further Behind Streaming Video

SlashDot - Tue, 2019-05-21 21:20
Netflix and other online video services have expanded their customer-satisfaction lead over cable and satellite TV, the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) found in its annual telecommunications report released today. Ars Technica reports: Streaming-video services averaged a score of 76 on the ACSI's 100-point scale, up from 75 last year. Meanwhile, the traditional subscription-TV industry's score remained unchanged at 62. "For the past six years, customer satisfaction with subscription TV has languished in the mid-to-low 60s, not recovering enough to effectively compete with streaming services," the ACSI report said. "In 2018, subscription sales declined 3 percent to $103.4 billion. Customer service remains poor, and cord cutting is accelerating. As video-streaming services gain traction, a growing number of households may never subscribe to pay TV in the first place." Pay-TV and broadband -- two services that are generally offered in bundles by the same companies -- each posted an industry average of 62, which is again in "last place among all [46] industries tracked by the ACSI," the report said. Pay-TV's satisfaction score peaked at 68 in 2013 and has dropped steadily since. Streaming services rated significantly higher than cable and satellite in many categories, including the ease of understanding bills, mobile app quality and reliability, and call-center satisfaction. Comcast remained near the bottom of pay-TV rankings with a score of 57, while AT&T's U-verse led the ranking despite dropping from 70 to 69. Coincidentally, AT&T's streaming service -- DirecTV Now -- also fell from 70 to 69. But while the AT&T U-verse TV score of 69 was good enough to lead all cable and satellite TV providers, the DirecTV Now score of 69 was in second-to-last place among streaming providers. Netflix took the top spot in streaming satisfaction by raising its score from 78 to 79.

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Bentley Bentayga Bengala is the Bentley 4x4 Squared we never knew we wanted - Roadshow

CNET News - Tue, 2019-05-21 21:18
The Bentayga does OK off-road in stock form, but this modified version wants to take it further into the wilds.

Google stored some business passwords as plain text

Engadget - Tue, 2019-05-21 20:56
Facebook isn't the only big tech company found to be storing passwords in plain text. Google has warned G Suite users that an "error" in a password recovery implementation left some of their passwords unhashed on its internal systems since 2005 unti...

Some New Chevrolet Models Temporarily Won't Move Until Teen Drivers Buckle Up

SlashDot - Tue, 2019-05-21 20:40
Chevrolet is introducing a feature, specifically for teen drivers, that will temporarily block the auto from shifting into gear if their seat belt isn't buckled. A message will alert the driver to buckle up in order to shift into gear. After 20 seconds, the vehicle will operate normally. NPR reports: The feature, which Chevrolet says is an industry first, will come standard in the 2020 models of the Traverse SUV, Malibu sedan and Colorado pickup truck. It will be part of the "Teen Driver" package, which can also be used to set speed alerts and a maximum speed, among other controls, and give parents "report cards" tracking a teen's driving behavior. Chevrolet explains how it works: "To use Teen Driver mode, a parent can enable the feature by creating a PIN in the Settings menu that allows them to register their teen's key fob. The Teen Driver settings are turned on only when a registered key fob is used to start the vehicle."

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HQ Trivia's fourth season starts at 9 PM ET

Engadget - Tue, 2019-05-21 20:33
About a year and a half after it first popped up on our mobile screens, HQ Trivia is launching "season four" tonight at 9 PM ET with several gameplay tweaks and a refreshed cast of hosts. The trivia game streams live to player's phones and offers rea...