Tech News Feed

FCC claims rural broadband access is improving

Engadget - Wed, 2019-02-20 11:30
In a draft of its annual Broadband Deployment report, the Federal Communications Commission says the so-called digital divide is narrowing. Millions more Americans have access to modern broadband connectivity, particularly in rural regions. As such,...

Razer's job cuts signal a shift away from mobile

Engadget - Wed, 2019-02-20 11:11
Razer's decision to close its game store wasn't its only cost-cutting measure. The game hardware maker has cut 30 jobs (about 2 percent of its workforce), and its mobile team appears to have been affected more than most. In a statement to Droid Lif...

Lightsaber Dueling Registered as Official Sport in France

SlashDot - Wed, 2019-02-20 11:05
It's now easier than ever in France to act out Star Wars fantasies. The country's fencing federation has officially recognized lightsaber dueling as a competitive sport, granting the weapon from George Lucas's space saga the same status as the foil, epee and sabre, the traditional blades used at the Olympics. From a report: Of course, the LED-lit, rigid polycarbonate replicas can't slice an opponent in half. But they look and sound remarkably like the blades that Yoda and other characters wield in the blockbuster movies. The physicality of lightsaber combat is part of the reason why the French Fencing Federation is now equipping fencing clubs with lightsabers and training would-be lightsaber instructors. Like virtuous Jedi knights, the federation sees itself as combatting a Dark Side: the sedentary habits of 21st-century life. "With young people today, it's a real public health issue. They don't do any sport and only exercise with their thumbs," says Serge Aubailly, the federation's secretary general. "That is why we are trying to create a bond between our discipline and modern technologies, so participating in a sport feels natural." In the past, Zorro, Robin Hood and The Three Musketeers helped lure new practitioners to fencing. Now, Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader are joining them. "Cape-and-sword movies have always had a big impact on our federation and its growth," Aubailly says. "Lightsaber films have the same impact. Young people want to give it a try."

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We need to talk about Huawei's (alleged) thefts

Engadget - Wed, 2019-02-20 11:00
Most rational people don't go out of their way to buy a product that has a whiff of illegality about it. You don't see people bragging about their conflict diamond bracelets or talking up sweatshop labor used to make their clothes. So why would peopl...

How to watch Samsung's Galaxy Unpacked 2019 event

Engadget - Wed, 2019-02-20 10:49
Samsung is holding its annual Unpacked event today, which means new devices are on the way. While the company hasn't confirmed what it'll be showing off, it's expected to reveal sevearl versions of latest version of its flagship smartphone, the Galax...

Citymapper launches a transit-only payment card for London

Engadget - Wed, 2019-02-20 10:42
Like many big cities, navigating London can be a struggle, with the sheer volume of transit options being confusing. Its maps, though beautiful, can be misleading to tourists and those passing through, which is why apps like Citymapper exist. The app...

CERN's World-First Browser Reborn: Now You Can Browse Like It's 1990

SlashDot - Wed, 2019-02-20 10:25
A team at Switzerland-based research center CERN has rebuilt WorldWideWeb, the world's first browser created in 1990 for its researchers. From a report: Earlier this month a group of developers and designers convened at CERN, or The European Organization for Nuclear Research, to rebuild WorldWideWeb in celebration of its 30th anniversary. The WorldWideWeb browser was built by Sir Tim Berners-Lee in 1990 on a NeXT machine, following his March 1989 proposal for a 'Mesh' or global hypertext system for CERN that he would later call the World Wide Web. The system aimed to address information loss that came with a high turnover and CERN's constantly changing technology. This was an acute problem at CERN that Berners-Lee predicted the world would also face within the next decade. Besides the browser, Berners-Lee developed 'httpd', the first hypertext server software for serving up early webpages. The WorldWideWeb browser simulator is now available online to view in a modern browser. For anyone curious to know how to use it, the developers have provided written instructions and a video demo.

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Logitech is Relaunching the MX518 Gaming Mouse

SlashDot - Wed, 2019-02-20 09:41
From a report: Logitech has announced it is bringing back the "legendary" (the company's word, not mine) MX518 gaming mouse. The announcement says "many consider [it] to be the finest gaming mouse of all time." I am definitely one of those people. Logitech first released the MX518 in 2005, as the successor to the already-pretty-good MX510 gaming mouse released in 2004. The MX518 was around for six years before Logitech tried to replace it with the G400 gaming mouse in 2011. I say "tried" because, well, it just wasn't the same. Logitech has finally admitted as much, after eight years of trying. The company is promising that the reborn MX518 will have the same shape and feel as the original. The materials have been updated, and there's a new "Nightfall" finish but, crucially, it's still an MX518.

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We’re live at Samsung’s Galaxy S10 event!

Engadget - Wed, 2019-02-20 09:30
Mobile World Congress is just around the corner, but wouldn't you know it — Samsung wanted all the attention it could get. Because of that, we're coming to you this morning from beautiful, foggy San Francisco, where the company plans to finally...

Apple's iOS-to-Mac efforts will reportedly start this June

Engadget - Wed, 2019-02-20 09:16
Google isn't the only one with a sweet tooth for cross-platform apps. Apple's own gestating app merger -- code-named "Marzipan" -- is set to launch at WWDC in June, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Apple will reportedly start by giving devs the...

Microsoft: Russian hackers are trying to influence EU elections

Engadget - Wed, 2019-02-20 09:02
The European Elections come at a crucial time for the world, since their outcome could ultimately dictate if peace in Europe can be maintained. That explains why the number of attempts to undermine the process by a hostile nation state (with a name t...

LG explains how the G8 ThinQ's tiny gesture sensor works

Engadget - Wed, 2019-02-20 08:41
LG has revealed more details about the "Time of Flight" sensor that will likely power the G8 ThinQ's touchless gestures. Built by LG's Innotek division, it reflects infrared light off of a subject, measures how long it takes to return and uses the da...

Xiaomi made its own version of the Google Home Hub

Engadget - Wed, 2019-02-20 08:22
At the Mi 9 launch event in China, Xiaomi has revealed that it's working on a smart home hub -- one with looks that might conjure up images of the Lenovo Smart Clock and the Google Home Hub. It's called the Xiao Ai Touchscreen Speaker Box, and while...

Google put a microphone in Nest Secure and forgot to tell anyone

Engadget - Wed, 2019-02-20 08:02
Google's decision to bring Assistant-enabled voice controls to its Nest Secure system is causing a stir almost a year after the integration was rolled out. The problem is no one actually knew the security device, launched in September, 2017, packed a...

Qualcomm Urges US Regulators To Reverse Course, Ban Some iPhones

SlashDot - Wed, 2019-02-20 08:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: Qualcomm is urging U.S. trade regulators to reverse a judge's ruling and ban the import of some Apple iPhones in a long-running patent fight between the two companies. Qualcomm is seeking the ban in hopes of dealing Apple a blow before the two begin a major trial in mid-April in San Diego over Qualcomm's patent licensing practices. Qualcomm has sought to apply pressure to Apple with smaller legal challenges ahead of that trial and has won partial iPhone sales bans in China and Germany against Apple, forcing the iPhone maker to ship only phones with Qualcomm chips to some markets. Any possible ban on iPhone imports to the United States could be short-lived because Apple last week for the first time disclosed that it has found a software fix to avoid infringing on one of Qualcomm's patents. Apple asked regulators to give it as much as six months to prove that the fix works. Qualcomm brought a case against Apple at the U.S. International Trade Commission in 2017 alleging that some iPhones violated Qualcomm patents to help smart phones run well without draining their batteries. Qualcomm asked for an import ban on some older iPhone models containing Intel chips. In September, Thomas Pender, an administrative law judge at the ITC, found that Apple violated one of the patents in the case but declined to issue a ban. Pender reasoned that imposing a ban on Intel-chipped iPhones would hand Qualcomm an effective monopoly on the U.S. market for modem chips, which connect smart phones to wireless data networks. Pender's ruling said that preserving competition in the modem chip market was in the public interest as speedier 5G networks come online in the next few years.

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UK’s extended 5km airport drone ‘no-fly’ zones in force next month

TechCrunch - Wed, 2019-02-20 07:54

The UK’s Department for Transport has said today that an expansion of drone ‘no-fly’ zones to 5km around airport runways will come into force on March 13.

Anyone caught and convicted of flying a drone inside the restricted zones could face a fine and years in prison.

Last month the government said it would tighten restrictions on drones flights around airports, after the existing 1km limit was criticized for being inadequate — saying it believes expanded no-fly zones will help protect airports from drone misuse.

The 1km drone exclusion zone around airports, and a 400ft drone flight height restriction rule, only came into force last July. But ministers came in for sharp criticism following the Gatwick Airport drone fiasco when a spate of drone sightings near the UK’s second busiest airport caused a temporary shutdown of the runway and travel disruption for thousands of people right before Christmas.

Heathrow, the UK’s busiest airport, also briefly halted departures after further sightings of drones last month.

“The law is clear that flying a drone near an airport is a serious criminal act. We’re now going even further and extending the no-fly zone to help keep our airports secure and our skies safe,” said transport secretary, Chris Grayling, in a statement today.

“We are also working to raise awareness of the rules in place. Anyone flying their drone within the vicinity of an airport should know they are not only acting irresponsibly, but criminally, and could face imprisonment.”

The government and the Civil Aviation Authority have announced a partnership with online retailer Jessops to help raise public awareness about the new drone rules — and encourage what they dub “responsible drone use” — as part of a national awareness campaign.

The government also said work is continuing on a new Drones Bill. Although the planned legislation is already almost a year behind schedule — and is still only slated for introduction “in due course”.

The bill will give police officers powers to stop and search people suspected of using drones maliciously above 400ft or within 5km of an airport, the government said.

It added that the planned legislation will give additional new powers to the police to clamp down on those misusing drones and other small unmanned aircraft, including the power to access electronic data stored on a drone with a warrant.

Additional powers for police were trailed back in 2017 when the drone bill was first floated by the government. It re-announced its intention to beef up police powers to tackle drone misuse last month following the Gatwick fiasco.

The government added today that the Home Office is still reviewing the UK’s approach to countering the malicious use of drones, writing that it will “consider how best to protect the full range of the UK’s critical national infrastructure — including testing and evaluating technology to counter drones”.

In related news this month, drone maker DJI announced upgrades to its geofencing systems across Europe — applying stricter and more detailed restrictions around airports and other sensitive sites after switching its mapping data provider from US based AirMap to UK based Altitude Angel.

The Morning After: The Galaxy S10 cometh

Engadget - Wed, 2019-02-20 07:25
Hey, good morning! Samsung's big phone event is finally here. From the latest in its S-series to something a bit more foldable, we're ready and waiting for all the news to start rolling in at 2PM ET. Before we get to that, though, there's the busine...

Chevrolet finally adds ‘find my car’ to its app

Engadget - Wed, 2019-02-20 07:00
Chevrolet is adding a "vehicle locate" feature to its mobile app that lets you, and up to 10 designated people, pinpoint your car's whereabouts. Though it doesn't offer constant tracking in the vein of Tesla's always-on GPS or Uber's Trip Tracker, it...

Should We Kill Off Disease-Causing Pests? Not So Fast

Scientifc America - Wed, 2019-02-20 06:45
Eradicating harmful species may have unintended consequences

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NASA is close to finalizing its drone traffic control system for cities

Engadget - Wed, 2019-02-20 06:32
NASA is ready to put its drone traffic management system to the ultimate test and has chosen Nevada and Texas as its final testing sites. The agency, together with the FAA, has been developing an Unmanned aircraft Traffic Management (UTM) system over...