Tech News Feed

Google Daydream's web-browsing features surface in Chrome

Engadget - Fri, 2017-09-22 14:18
At Google's I/O developer conference in May, the company announced that it was working on a VR version of Chrome that could work in Daydream. Well, Chrome development team member François Beaufort announced on Google+ today that the first set...

Anatomy of a Moral Panic: Reports About Amazon Suggesting 'Bomb-Making Items' Were Highly Misleading

SlashDot - Fri, 2017-09-22 14:00
Maciej Ceglowski, a Polish-American web developer, has demolished a news story from earlier this week in which a British outlet Channel 4 suggested that Amazon's algorithm-driven suggestions were helping people find items that are required to make bombs. Multiple credible news outlets picked the story, including The New York Times, Reuters, BBC, and CNBC. We ran an excerpt from the New York Times' article, which included a newsworthy response from Amazon that it was reviewing its website, on Slashdot. In reality what was happening was, Ceglowski wrote, the items Amazon suggested would help high school chemistry students with their experiments. From his blog: The 'common chemical compound' in Channel 4's report is potassium nitrate, an ingredient used in curing meat. If you go to Amazon's page to order a half-kilo bag of the stuff, you'll see the suggested items include sulfur and charcoal, the other two ingredients of gunpowder. [...] The Channel 4 piece goes on to reveal that people searching for 'another widely available chemical' are being offered the ingredients for thermite, a mixture of metal powders that when ignited "creates a hazardous reaction used in incendiary bombs and for cutting through steel." In this case, the 'widely available chemical' is magnesium ribbon. If you search for this ribbon on Amazon, the site will offer to sell you iron oxide (rust) and aluminum powder, which you can mix together to create a spectacular bit of fireworks called the thermite reaction. The thermite reaction is performed in every high school chemistry classroom, as a fun reward for students who have had to suffer through a baffling unit on redox reactions. [...] When I contacted the author of one of these pieces to express my concerns, they explained that the piece had been written on short deadline that morning, and they were already working on an unrelated article. The author cited coverage in other mainstream outlets (including the New York Times) as justification for republishing and not correcting the assertions made in the original Channel 4 report. The real story in this mess is not the threat that algorithms pose to Amazon shoppers, but the threat that algorithms pose to journalism. By forcing reporters to optimize every story for clicks, not giving them time to check or contextualize their reporting, and requiring them to race to publish follow-on articles on every topic, the clickbait economics of online media encourage carelessness and drama. This is particularly true for technical topics outside the reporter's area of expertise. And reporters have no choice but to chase clicks.

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Why Equifax’s error wasn’t hiring someone with a music degree

Engadget - Fri, 2017-09-22 14:00
In the wake of the Equifax breach, a significant number of people lost their minds this week upon discovering that one of its newly-deposed security executives has a degree in music composition. Despite 14 years of experience as a security profession...

Logitech’s MX Ergo made me a trackball convert

TechCrunch - Fri, 2017-09-22 13:54
 Some geeks of my vintage have a nostalgic fondness for trackballs, but I never managed to form such an association. Instead, I’ve been pretty much a dedicated mouse user since the mouse first became an option. But Logitech’s MX Ergo wireless trackball has changed all that – and I’m not sure I’ll ever go back. The new trackball has some highlight features including… Read More

Liftmaster links garages with Google and IFTTT -- for a fee - CNET

CNET News - Fri, 2017-09-22 13:44
Liftmaster's integration with the Google Assistant and its MyQ channel on IFTTT will let you control your smart garage door opener in all sorts of ways, but using them will cost you a buck per month.

'PUBG’ studio isn't happy about ‘Fornite: Battle Royale’

Engadget - Fri, 2017-09-22 13:38
Epic Games' cartoony horde game Fortnite is still in Steam Early Access, but the studio recently announced that a free-to-play version of the game would come out for free next week... and it looks a lot like another really popular game. Fortnite: Bat...

This Guy Is Digitizing the VHS History of Video Games

SlashDot - Fri, 2017-09-22 13:20
An anonymous reader shares a report: UK-based gaming journalist and blogger Chris Scullion is on a mission to preserve his collection -- and maybe your collection, too -- of these old video game VHS tapes. In the 80s and 90s, video game companies and trade magazines made these tapes to accompany popular titles or new issues with bonus material or promotional footage, giving a glimpse into how marketing for games was done in the industry's early days. Scullion has 18 tapes to upload so far, and plans to provide accompanying commentary as well as the raw video as they go up on his YouTube channel. Scullion's first upload is a promotional tape for Super Mario All-Stars, given away by Nintendo UK in 1993. It's hosted by Craig Charles, who played Lister in the British sci-fi sitcom Red Dwarf. Digitizing his collection keeps that sweet nostalgia content safe from degradation of the magnetic tape, which starts to go downhill within 10 to 25 years. He's capturing them in HD using a 1080p upscaler, at a full 50fps frame rate by converting to HDMI before grabbing -- a higher frame rate than many standard commercial digitizing devices that capture at 30fps -- so that no frames are missed. Some of the tapes he's planning to digitize have already been converted and uploaded to YouTube by other people, he says, but most are either poor quality or captured with less-advanced grabbing devices.

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Amazon may deliver Chipotle and Five Guys right to your front door

Engadget - Fri, 2017-09-22 13:19
Amazon's been getting into the food game for awhile now. After all, they've introduced Amazon Fresh and drive-through grocery pickup. And oh yeah, they acquired Whole Foods earlier this year. Clearly Amazon is serious about the food business; they've...

GE's Stunning 'Unseen Stars' Takes Over Grand Central

PCMag News - Fri, 2017-09-22 13:08
GE celebrates women in STEM with a dazzling light show, and PCMag stopped by for a peek.

How Kevin Durant’s attempt to clap back at trolls backfired

Engadget - Fri, 2017-09-22 13:00
What does an NBA champion and Finals MVP have in common with Taylor Swift? In the case of the Golden State Warriors' Kevin Durant, it's that internet trolls love calling them snakes. Swift earned that label last year after a feud with Kim Kardashian...

Get a Moto G5S Plus for $229.99 - CNET

CNET News - Fri, 2017-09-22 12:56
That's $50 off the already great price for Moto's latest, which comes unlocked with dual rear cameras. Plus: a free $29 survival horror game and more!

Red Hat Pledges Patent Protection For 99 Percent of FOSS-ware

SlashDot - Fri, 2017-09-22 12:45
Red Hat says it has amassed over 2,000 patents and won't enforce them if the technologies they describe are used in properly-licensed open-source software. From a report: The company has made more or less the same offer since 2002, when it first made a "Patent Promise" in order to "discourage patent aggression in free and open source software." Back then the company didn't own many patents and claimed its non-enforcement promise covered 35 per cent of open-source software. The Promise was revised in order to reflect the company's growing patent trove and to spruce up the language it uses to make it more relevant. The revised promise "applies to all software meeting the free software or open source definitions of the Free Software Foundation (FSF) or the Open Source Initiative (OSI)." [...] It's not a blank cheque. Hardware isn't covered and Red Hat is at pains to point out that "Our Promise is not an assurance that Red Hat's patents are enforceable or that practicing Red Hat's patented inventions does not infringe others' patents or other intellectual property." But the company says 99 percent of FOSS software should be covered by the Promise.

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Hyundai next in line for Fiat Chrysler buyout rumors - Roadshow

CNET News - Fri, 2017-09-22 12:41
I feel like we're going to go through the whole automotive industry before anything actually happens.

US-Europe privacy agreement passes its yearly review

Engadget - Fri, 2017-09-22 12:41
If you haven't ever heard of Privacy Shield, it's an agreement between the US and the EU. It allows companies that store personal data of people who reside in the EU (such as Facebook) on servers in the US, all while adhering to European standards fo...

All Xbox 360 ‘Halo’ titles are now playable on the Xbox One

Engadget - Fri, 2017-09-22 12:22
Microsoft had a fun announcement this week. All Xbox 360-era Halo games, Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST, Halo 4 and Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, are now backwards compatible for the Xbox One and Xbox One S. (Halo: Reach was already backwards compatible wi...

Follow asteroid-bound Osiris-Rex slingshotting around Earth - CNET

CNET News - Fri, 2017-09-22 12:16
NASA's spacecraft gets a gravity boost from home as it buzzes by this week on its way to sample a space rock.

Apple has the best camera on a phone, says DxO tests - CNET

CNET News - Fri, 2017-09-22 12:12
The review site was wowed by the camera on the iPhone 8 Plus.

Xbox 'Duke' Controller Available for the Holidays

PCMag News - Fri, 2017-09-22 12:08
Hyperkin are set to deliver Microsoft's 16-year-old controller in updated form this year.

London Slams the Door on Uber

PCMag News - Fri, 2017-09-22 12:08
Transport for London (TfL) will not be renewing Uber's license to operate in the city after concluding that Uber is 'not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator license.'

Apple's Latest Products Get Rare Mixed-Bag Reviews, Muted Reception

SlashDot - Fri, 2017-09-22 12:05
Mark Gurman, writing for Bloomberg: Despite the strength of its brand, Apple occasionally releases a product to mediocre reviews -- remember the original Apple TV or Apple Watch? But reviewers have rarely been as grumpy as this month, when Apple unveiled its collection of new gadgets for the holidays. "I can't think of a single compelling reason to upgrade [to iPhone 8, or iPhone 8 Plus] from an iPhone 7 [which was launched last year]," wrote Nilay Patel of The Verge. Another potential sign of trouble: the iPhone 8 models didn't sell out during pre-orders, another rare occurrence for Apple phones. [...] Reviewing the new Apple Watch Series 3 model, The Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern wrote "On the AT&T-connected models, the cellular connection dropped, calls were often choppy and Siri sometimes failed to connect. On the one that ran on T-Mobile, I experienced several dropped connections." The Verge's Lauren Goode noticed a serious connection issue as well, saying the device "would appear to pick up a single bar of some random Wi-Fi signal, and hang on that, rather than switching to LTE." [...] Reviewing the Apple TV 4K, The Verge's Patel noted the device's high price, a lack of 4K support in major apps including YouTube, and a lack of support for the Dolby Atmos audio standard. Reuters reported on Friday: Hundreds of people usually gather at Apple's Sydney city store with queues winding down the town's main street, George Street, when there is a new product release. But there were fewer than 30 people lining up before the store opened on Friday, according to a Reuters witness. While the number of people queuing up outside Apple stores have dropped over the years with many opting for online purchases, the weak turnout for the latest iPhone has partly been due to poor reviews. Over at Financial Times, Tim Bradshaw reports: "I think demand is down from last year, for no other reason than you have another flagship phone," said Neil Cybart, an Apple analyst at Above Avalon. "A portion of the iPhone launch demand is not materialising quite yet." That could leave this weekend's initial sales lower than at any point since the iPhone 6 first launched in 2014, Mr Cybart added. Apple's decision to increase prices for the iPhone 8 compared with last year's model and a less aggressive launch push by mobile carriers could also affect demand.

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