Tech News Feed

Amazon Is Making It Easier To Set Up New IoT Gadgets

SlashDot - Fri, 2018-09-21 21:25
At an event yesterday where the company unveiled a range of new Echo smart speakers and other Alexa-enabled devices, the company announced a new way to easily set up internet of things (IoT) devices. The Verge reports: Called Wi-Fi Simple Setup, the system will use Amazon's Wi-Fi Lockers to store your Wi-Fi credentials and share them with compatible smart home devices. Amazon is debuting this tech with TP-Link and Eero, with the idea that customers can reuse network credentials in order to set up new devices. This means devices will connect on their own instead of you having to manually set up each smart product. According to Amazon, it's as easy as plugging in a Wi-Fi Simple Setup-enabled device. The device will automatically look for the Wi-Fi Simple Setup Network and connect once it receives encrypted credentials. Amazon says the process should take no longer than 30 seconds. The ecommerce company also announced a "plug-and-play smart home kit called Alexa Connect Kit. "It starts with a module that has Bluetooth LE and Wi-Fi and a real-time OS that companies can put in their products in order to make them smart," reports The Verge.

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Romanian Ransomware Suspect Pleads Guilty To Hacking CCTVs In Washington DC

SlashDot - Fri, 2018-09-21 20:45
gosand writes: "A Romanian woman [named Eveline Cismaru] has admitted running a ransomware operation from infected Washington DC's CCTV systems just days before President Trump was sworn into office in the U.S. capital," The Register reports. The U.S. Department of Justice stated: "This case was of the highest priority due to its impact on the Secret Service's protective mission and its potential effect on the security plan for the 2017 Presidential Inauguration." She could face a max of 25 years if convicted. She and her cohort (who is still jailed in Romania) made the classic hacker mistake of using their personal Gmail accounts for the campaign, even accessing them from one of the compromised PCs. Cismaru hacked "into 123 of the 187 high-tech CCTV cameras dotted around the city," reports The Register. "The hijacked devices, used by DC's Metropolitan Police Department, then spammed up to 180,000 email addresses with ransomware-laden messages."

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'Overwatch' tests new colorblind options and tweaked Torbjörn

Engadget - Fri, 2018-09-21 20:45
Ever since Overwatch debuted, Blizzard has continued to poke and prod at the game by adding heroes, game modes, maps and making tweaks to existing content to keep players interested. With a game that functions as a funnel toward its professional espo...

FCC Angers Cities, Towns With $2 Billion Giveaway To Wireless Carriers

SlashDot - Fri, 2018-09-21 20:03
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: The Federal Communications Commission's plan for spurring 5G wireless deployment will prevent city and town governments from charging carriers about $2 billion worth of fees. The FCC proposal, to be voted on at its meeting on September 26, limits the amount that local governments may charge carriers for placing 5G equipment such as small cells on poles, traffic lights, and other government property in public rights-of-way. The proposal, which is supported by the FCC's Republican majority, would also force cities and towns to act on carrier applications within 60 or 90 days. The FCC says this will spur more deployment of small cells, which "have antennas often no larger than a small backpack." But the commission's proposal doesn't require carriers to build in areas where they wouldn't have done so anyway. The FCC plan proposes up-front application fees of $100 for each small cell and annual fees of up to $270 per small cell. The FCC says this is a "reasonable approximation of [localities'] costs for processing applications and for managing deployments in the rights-of-way." Cities that charge more than that would likely face litigation from carriers and would have to prove that the fees are a reasonable approximation of all costs and "non-discriminatory." But, according to Philadelphia, those proposed fees "are simply de minimis when measured against the costs that the City incurs to approve, support, and maintain the many small cell and distributed antenna system (DAS) installations in its public rights-of-way." Philadelphia said it "has already established a fee structure and online application process to apply for small cell deployment that has served the needs of its citizens without prohibiting or creating barriers to entry for infrastructure investment." The city has also negotiated license agreements for small cell installations with Verizon, AT&T, and other carriers. In addition to Philadelphia, the Rural County Represenatives of California (RCRC), a group representing 35 rural California counties, also objects to the FCC plan. They told the FCC that its "proposed recurring fee structure is an unreasonable overreach that will harm local policy innovation." "That is why many local governments have worked to negotiate fair agreements with wireless providers, which may exceed that number or provide additional benefits to the community," the RCRC wrote. "The FCC's decision to prohibit municipalities' ability to require 'in-kind' conditions on installation agreements is in direct conflict with the FCC's stated intent of this Order and further constrains local governments in deploying wireless services to historically underserved areas."

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Enter to win* swag from your favorite antihero! - CNET

CNET News - Fri, 2018-09-21 19:32
One lucky follower will win some awesome Deadpool swag, including a copy of Deadpool autographed by TJ Miller and more! This giveaway ends Sept. 23, 2018.

'Fortnite' will add more audio cues to help you hunt rivals

Engadget - Fri, 2018-09-21 19:29
Play enough Fortnite and you'll know that audio cues can make all the difference -- footsteps are your cue to get ready for a fight (or, let's be honest, run for the hills). To that end, Epic has offered a sneak peek at the development and testing of...

iPhone XS Teardown Shows Few Changes Aside From the Battery

SlashDot - Fri, 2018-09-21 19:20
iFixit tore apart Apple's iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, revealing very similar insides to last year's iPhone X. Engadget reports the findings: One of the most interesting features is the battery on the XS. The iPhone XS sports a slightly downgraded battery from the iPhone X, a 10.13 Wh battery (2,659 mAh at 3.81 V) versus 10.35 Wh (2716 mAh at 3.81 V). But a new configuration might more than make up for it: Apple is using a brand-new L-shaped single-cell battery instead of two separate batteries. However, the XS Max still sports two batteries. Some other tweaks include a new, Apple-branded power management chip and a new antenna line on the bottom of the phone. The camera bump is also slightly taller, meaning your iPhone X case might not fit on your XS, if you plan on upgrading. The Verge also notes that "there's no evidence that the teardown team could find of any improved water or dust resistance, despite the improved IP68 ratings on the iPhone XS and XS Max."

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OnePlus rolls out its version of Android Pie

Engadget - Fri, 2018-09-21 18:51
OnePlus isn't wasting too much time in bringing its version of Android Pie to its phones. A little over a month after Google released the OS, OnePlus is rolling out OxygenOS 9.0, which includes Pie features such as gesture navigation, adaptive batter...

Telltale Games Hit With Major Layoffs As Part of a 'Majority Studio Closure'

SlashDot - Fri, 2018-09-21 18:40
Telltale Games, the video game developer behind The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us, and Batman: The Enemy Within, laid off a large number of its staff today. According to The Verge, "the company will retain a small team of 25." From the report: "Today Telltale Games made the difficult decision to begin a majority studio closure following a year marked by insurmountable challenges," the company said in a statement. "A majority of the company's employees were dismissed earlier this morning." The remaining employees will stay on "to fulfill the company's obligations to its board and partners," according to Telltale. Staff were informed of the layoffs today and were given roughly 30 minutes to leave the building, according to one source. Telltale had previously announced a second season of The Wolf Among Us and a game based off of Netflix's wildly popular show Stranger Things. The company has not yet commented on the status of those projects, though the outcome seems dire. On Twitter, one former lead writer wrote, "I'm so sad we won't be able to show you all Wolf." The layoffs come a few months after revelations that Telltale was a studio mired in toxic management that included employees being subjected to constant overwork. Once an industry darling that worked on iconic brands like Game of Thrones and Minecraft, Telltale quickly spiraled.

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Toyota to finally support Android Auto, report says - Roadshow

CNET News - Fri, 2018-09-21 18:24
Toyota is one of a handful of automakers that only supports Apple CarPlay for now.

Sexy Handmaid's Tale costume gets pulled because duh - CNET

CNET News - Fri, 2018-09-21 18:12
A retailer pulls the costume after online backlash.

NYT lawsuit accuses FCC of withholding evidence of Russian meddling

Engadget - Fri, 2018-09-21 18:03
Are you frustrated that the FCC has been reluctant to cooperate with investigations into fake anti-net neutrality comments? So is the New York Times. The newspaper has sued the FCC after the regulator repeatedly refused to provide server logs for its...

Join our Apple Core Sweepstakes to win* a brand-new phone! - CNET

CNET News - Fri, 2018-09-21 18:00
We joined forces with Speck to give away one iPhone XS Max and one iPhone XS, both unlocked and with three cases each. This sweepstakes ends Oct. 7, 2018.

Google Employees Discussed Tweaking Search Results To Counter Trump's Travel Ban

SlashDot - Fri, 2018-09-21 18:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Wall Street Journal: Days after the Trump administration instituted a controversial travel ban in January 2017, Google employees discussed how they could tweak the company's search-related functions (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source) to show users how to contribute to pro-immigration organizations and contact lawmakers and government agencies, according to internal company emails. The email traffic, reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, shows that employees proposed ways to "leverage" search functions and take steps to counter what they considered to be "islamophobic, algorithmically biased results from search terms 'Islam', 'Muslim', 'Iran', etc." and "prejudiced, algorithmically biased search results from search terms `Mexico', `Hispanic', `Latino', etc." The email chain, while sprinkled with cautionary notes about engaging in political activity, suggests employees considered ways to harness the company's vast influence on the internet in response to the travel ban. Google said none of the ideas discussed were implemented. "These emails were just a brainstorm of ideas, none of which were ever implemented," a company spokeswoman said in a statement. "Google has never manipulated its search results or modified any of its products to promote a particular political ideology -- not in the current campaign season, not during the 2016 election, and not in the aftermath of President Trump's executive order on immigration. Our processes and policies would not have allowed for any manipulation of search results to promote political ideologies."

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Telltale Games officially shutting down, only a skeleton crew remains - CNET

CNET News - Fri, 2018-09-21 17:59
Famous for an excellent video game adaptation of The Walking Dead, the studio is now a shambling zombie itself.

Red Hydrogen One looks badass in titanium, just like a Terminator should - CNET

CNET News - Fri, 2018-09-21 17:43
Hopefully it wasn't sent from the future to find Sarah Connor.

Instagram says it’s not working on a regram feature

Engadget - Fri, 2018-09-21 17:31
Rumors of an Instagram regram function have circulated a number of times, and they were renewed this week when The Verge reported that the company was working on a reshare feature. But while Instagram initially told the site that it had no comment ab...

Google experiments are turning Daydream into a big-boy VR headset - CNET

CNET News - Fri, 2018-09-21 17:25
Every Android app could potentially come to VR, plus reach-out-and-touch controls and see-through superpowers.

Trump OKs 'offensive cyber operations' as deterrent against US rivals - CNET

CNET News - Fri, 2018-09-21 17:23
There'll be consequences if foreign adversaries launch cyberattacks against the US, the White House says.