Tech News Feed

Social app Peach is looking for a benefactor on Twitter

Engadget - Tue, 2019-02-19 18:32
Remember Peach? The social network from Vine founder Dom Hoffmann was briefly all the rage, but petered out as the realities of competing with Twitter (and every other social network) set in. It's been largely coasting since then, but now its team...

Hollywood Tries To Cripple Several Alleged Pirate TV Services In One Lawsuit

SlashDot - Tue, 2019-02-19 18:30
The major Hollywood movie studios last week filed a copyright infringement suit against Omniverse One World Television Inc., which provides streaming video to several online TV services. Omniverse claims to have legal rights to the content, but the studios say it doesn't. Ars Technica reports: The complaint was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California by Columbia Pictures, Disney, Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Universal, and Warner Bros. The studios previously used lawsuits to shut down the maker of a streaming device called the Dragon Box and another called TickBox. The studios' new lawsuit says that Omniverse supplied content to Dragon Box and to other alleged pirate services that are still operating. Services using Omniverse content are advertised as "Powered by Omniverse." Besides Dragon Box, they include "SkyStream TV, Flixon TV, and Silicon Dust's HDHomeRun Service," according to the lawsuit. SkyStream, for example, offers more than 70 live TV channels for $35 a month, while pricier packages, according to the complaint, also include premium channels such as HBO. SkyStream's website says its service "is delivered In Cooperation with Omniverse One World Television." According to its website, Omniverse "partners with key distributors across the USA to empower end users with the ability to view their favorite TV channels with no contracts, no credit checks, and no long-term obligations." [T]he movie studios' lawsuit alleges that Omniverse has no rights to distribute their video content. While Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, YouTube TV, and other legitimate streaming services purchase rights to the content, Omniverse has not, the lawsuit said. The complaint asks for an injunction shutting the company down and damages of up to $150,000 for each infringed work. "Defendant Jason DeMeo and his company, Omniverse, stream Plaintiffs' copyrighted movies and television shows without authorization to an already large, and rapidly growing, number of end users," the lawsuit said. "Defendants are not, however, just an infringing, consumer-facing service, akin to Dragon Box. Defendants operate at a higher level in the supply chain of infringing content -- recruiting numerous downstream services like Dragon Box into the illicit market and providing them with access to unauthorized streams of copyrighted content. Defendants function as a 'hub' of sorts, with the enlisted downstream services as the 'spokes.' Omniverse's offering is illegal, it is growing, and it undermines the legitimate market for licensed services."

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The US Cannot Crush Us, Says Huawei Founder

SlashDot - Tue, 2019-02-19 17:50
The founder of Huawei has said there is "no way the US can crush" the company, in an interview with the BBC. From the report: Ren Zhengfei, founder and president of Huawei, described the arrest of his daughter Meng Wanzhou, the company's chief financial officer, as politically motivated. The US is pursuing criminal charges against Huawei and Ms Meng, including money laundering, bank fraud and stealing trade secrets. Huawei denies any wrongdoing. Mr Ren spoke to the BBC's Karishma Vaswani in his first international broadcast interview since Ms Meng was arrested -- and dismissed the pressure from the US. "There's no way the US can crush us," he said. "The world cannot leave us because we are more advanced. Even if they persuade more countries not to use us temporarily, we can always scale things down a bit." However, he acknowledged that the potential loss of custom could have a significant impact. [...] Mr Ren warned that "the world cannot leave us because we are more advanced". "If the lights go out in the West, the East will still shine. And if the North goes dark, there is still the South. America doesn't represent the world. America only represents a portion of the world."

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Star Wars' porgs can be your virtual pets on Magic Leap One

Engadget - Tue, 2019-02-19 17:41
Back in October, we got a chance to play with some adorable (some may say annoying) porgs of Star Wars: The Last Jedi fame in mixed reality at Magic Leap's developer conference, LeapCon. Now, those with a Magic Leap One headset can raise their own fa...

House Opens Inquiry Into Proposed US Nuclear Venture In Saudi Arabia

SlashDot - Tue, 2019-02-19 17:10
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The New York Times: President Trump's former national security adviser and other White House officials pushed a venture to bring nuclear power plants to Saudi Arabia over repeated legal and ethical warnings that potential conflicts of interest around the plan could put American security at risk, concluded a new report from House Democrats released on Tuesday. The 24-page report from the House Oversight and Reform Committee outlined actions taken in the early weeks of the Trump administration to secure government backing to have American companies build dozens of nuclear power plants across Saudi Arabia, potentially at the risk of spreading nuclear weapons technology. But House Democrats said there was evidence that as recently as last week, the White House was still considering the proposal. Claims presented by whistle-blowers and White House documents obtained by the committee show that the company backing the nuclear plan, IP3 International, and its allies in the White House were working so closely that the company sent a draft memo to the former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, to circulate just days after the inauguration. Mr. Flynn had worked on the plan for IP3 during the Trump campaign and transition, the Democrats said, and continued to advocate for it in the White House. Even after Mr. Flynn left the White House in February 2017, officials on the National Security Council pushed ahead, the Democrats said, ignoring advice from the N.S.C.'s ethics counsel and other lawyers to cease all work on the plan because of potentially illegal conflicts. At a March 2017 meeting, a National Security Council aide tried to revive the IP3 plan "so that Jared Kushner can present it to the President for approval," the Democratic report said, a reference to Mr. Trump's son-in-law and top adviser. The draft memo also referenced another close Trump associate, Thomas J. Barrack, who served as chairman of the president's inaugural committee. It said that Mr. Trump had appointed Mr. Barrack as a special representative to implement the plan, which it called "the Middle East Marshall Plan." The memo also directed agencies to support Mr. Barrack's efforts.

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Amazon has one more season of 'The Man in the High Castle'

Engadget - Tue, 2019-02-19 16:58
Transparent isn't the only long-running Amazon show winding down in 2019. Amazon has confirmed that the fourth and final season of The Man in the High Castle will reach Prime Video sometime in the fall. While internet giant isn't much more specific b...

Linux Subsystem Files To Become Accessible via Windows File Explorer

SlashDot - Tue, 2019-02-19 16:30
One of Windows Subsystem for Linux's more annoying tricks is it's hard to get at your Linux files from Windows. From a report: Oh, you can do it, but you take a real chance of ruining the files. To quote Microsoft, "DO NOT, under ANY circumstances, access, create, and/or modify files in your distro's filesystem using Windows apps, tools, scripts, consoles, etc." In the forthcoming Windows 10 April 2019 Update, aka Windows 10 19H1, this Linux file problem will finally be fixed. According to Craig Loewen, a Microsoft programming manger working on Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), "The next Windows update is coming soon and we're bringing exciting new updates to WSL with it! These include accessing the Linux file system from Windows, and improvements to how you manage and configure your distros in the command line."

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More hockey highlights are coming to Snapchat

Engadget - Tue, 2019-02-19 16:30
There's about to be a lot more hockey on Snapchat. The National Hockey League (NHL) has agreed to a new multi-year partnership that will bring more content to Snpachat that hardcore and casual hockey fans want to see. The league will produce curated...

FDA: Infusing yourself with young blood is pointless, dangerous

Engadget - Tue, 2019-02-19 16:04
The US Food and Drug Administration has stepped in to officially warn consumers against buying young blood in an attempt to improve their health. Yes, enough people thought it would be a good idea to infuse young blood -- an actual plot from The Simp...

Solar tadpole-like jets seen with NASA'S IRIS add new clue to age-old mystery

Science Daily Astronomy - Tue, 2019-02-19 15:52
Scientists have discovered tadpole-shaped jets coming out of the Sun that may help explain why the corona (the wispy upper atmosphere of our star) is so inexplicably hot.

Middle-Age Men Who Can Do 40+ Push-Ups Have Lower Heart Disease Risk, Study Finds

SlashDot - Tue, 2019-02-19 15:50
A new study finds that active middle aged men who can do more than 40 push-ups at a time have a significantly lower risk of heart disease. From a report: Researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health followed more than 1,100 middle-aged male firefighters over a decade. They looked at two specific measures: how many push-ups they could do and their exercise tolerance on a treadmill. They found that men who could do more than 40 push-ups had a 96-percent lower risk of heart disease than those who could do no more than 10 and their ability to do push-ups was a better predictor of cardiovascular disease than their stamina on a treadmill test.

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House committee hopes to question Facebook over group privacy

Engadget - Tue, 2019-02-19 15:46
Facebook is facing even more government scrutiny this week. Members of the House of Representatives' Energy and Commerce Committee have asked to meet Facebook over concerns about group privacy. They're responding to an FTC complaint alleging that the...

Trump signs directive explaining his 'Space Force'

Engadget - Tue, 2019-02-19 15:22
Following weeks of speculation, Donald Trump signed the Space Policy Directive 4 during a ceremony at the White House on Tuesday, a document which explains how his administration will establish his Space Force. "Just as we've done in ages past, the...

Linux gaming is on a life-support system called Steam

Engadget - Tue, 2019-02-19 15:07
In September 2013, Valve founder Gabe Newell gave a rare, 20-minute presentation at LinuxCon. He called Linux "the future of gaming," predicting that as the industry became more user-driven and connected across both distances and devices, an open-sou...

Cybersecurity 101: Five settings to secure your iPhone or iPad

TechCrunch - Tue, 2019-02-19 15:00

iOS 12, Apple’s latest mobile software for iPhone and iPad, is out. The new software packs in a bunch of new security and privacy features you’ve probably already heard about. Here’s what you need to do to take advantage of the new settings and lock down your device.

1. Turn on USB Restricted Mode to make hacking more difficult

This difficult-to-find new feature prevents any accessories from connecting to your device — like USB cables and headphones — when your iPhone or iPad has been locked for more than an hour. That prevents police and hackers alike from using tools to bypass your lock screen passcode and get your data.

Go to Settings > Touch ID & Passcode and type in your passcode. Then, scroll down and ensure that USB Accessories are not permitted on the lock screen, so make sure the setting is Off. (On an iPhone X, check your Face ID settings instead.)

2. Make sure automatic iOS updates are turned on

Every time your iPhone or iPad updates, it comes with a slew of security patches to prevent crashes or data theft. Yet, how often do you update your phone? Most don’t bother unless it’s a major update. Now, iOS 12 will update your device behind the scenes, saving you downtime. Just make sure you switch it on.

Go to Settings > General > Software Update and turn on automatic updates.

3. Set a stronger device passcode

iOS has gotten better in recent years with passcodes. For years, it was a four-digit code by default, and now it’s six-digits. That makes it far more difficult to run through every combination — known as brute-forcing.

But did you know that you can set a number-only code of any length? Eight-digits, 12 — even more — and it keeps the number keypad on the lock screen so you don’t have to fiddle around with the keyboard.

Go to Settings > Touch ID & Passcode and enter your passcode. Then, go to Change password and, from the options, set a Custom Numeric Code.

4. Now, switch on two-factor authentication

Two-factor is one of the best ways to keep your account safe. If someone steals your password, they still need your phone to break into your account. For years, two-factor has been cumbersome and annoying. Now, iOS 12 has a new feature that auto-fills the code, so it takes the frustration step out of the equation — so you have no excuse.

You may be asked to switch on two-factor when you set up your phone. You can also go to Settings and tap your name, then go to Password & Security. Just tap Turn on Two-Factor Authentication and follow the prompts.

5. While you’re here… change your reused passwords

iOS 12’s password manager has a new feature: password auditing. If it finds you’ve used the same password on multiple sites, it will warn you and advise you to change those passwords. It prevents password reuse attacks (known as “credential stuffing“) that hackers use to break into multiple sites and services using the same username and password.

Go to Settings > Passwords & Accounts > Website & App Passwords and enter your passcode. You’ll see a small warning symbol next to each account that recognizes a reused password. One tap of the Change Password on Website button and you’re done.

Cybersecurity 101 - TechCrunch

Trump Directs Pentagon To Create Space Force Legislation for Congress

SlashDot - Tue, 2019-02-19 14:46
President Donald Trump signed a directive on Tuesday that ordered the Department of Defense to create a Space Force as a sixth military branch. From a report: With a directive signed Tuesday, Mr. Trump was positioning the Space Force much as the Marine Corps fits into the Navy, officials said, with the result being lower costs and less bureaucracy. The plan would require congressional approval. Mr. Trump is to propose funding in his proposed 2020 budget, and spell out a goal of eventually establishing the Space Force as a separate military department, a senior administration official said. "Space, that's the next step and we have to be prepared," said Mr. Trump, who added that adversaries were training forces and developing technology. "I think we'll have great support from Congress." The order Mr. Trump signed, Space Policy Directive 4, calls for a legislative proposal by the secretary of defense to establish a chief of staff of the Space Force within the Air Force. That officer would be a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to an outline. There also be a new under secretary of defense for space to be appointed by the president. The proposal calls for the Space Force to organize, train and equip personnel to defend the U.S. in space, to provide independent military options for "joint and national leadership" and "enable the lethality and effectiveness of the joint force," according to the administration's outline.

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Teenage Engineering OP-Z review: Small synth, big dreams

Engadget - Tue, 2019-02-19 14:45
Read the fucking manual. It's pejorative advice usually dispensed to someone struggling to find an answer — one typically available to them with minimal effort. The OP-Z from Teenage Engineering doesn't ship with a full manual (though there is...

Analysis of Four-Day Working Week Trial by a New Zealand Financial Services Company Finds Staff Were Happier and 20% More Productive

SlashDot - Tue, 2019-02-19 14:35
AmiMoJo shares a report: The founder of one of the first big companies to switch to a four-day working week has called on others to follow, claiming it has resulted in a 20% increase in productivity, appeared to have helped increase profits and boosted staff wellbeing. Analysis of one of the biggest trials yet of the four-day working week has revealed no fall in output, reduced stress and increased staff engagement, fuelling hopes that a better work-life-balance for millions could be in sight. Perpetual Guardian, a New Zealand financial services company, switched its 240 staff from a five-day to a four-day week last November and maintained their pay. Productivity increased in the four days they worked so there was no drop in the total amount of work done, a study of the trial released on Tuesday has revealed. The trial was monitored by academics at the University of Auckland and Auckland University of Technology. Among the Perpetual Guardian staff they found scores given by workers about leadership, stimulation, empowerment and commitment all increased compared with a 2017 survey. Details of an earlier trial showed the biggest increases were in commitment and empowerment. Staff stress levels were down from 45% to 38%. Work-life balance scores increased from 54% to 78%. "This is an idea whose time has come," said Andrew Barnes, Perpetual Guardian's founder and chief executive. "We need to get more companies to give it a go. They will be surprised at the improvement in their company, their staff and in their wider community."

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Google Keep puts notes on your Apple Watch

Engadget - Tue, 2019-02-19 14:13
It's been more than a year since Google, Amazon and eBay apps were removed from the Apple Watch. Now, Google is making a comeback with an updated version of Google Keep, its note-taking app.

Watch the historic first private mission to the Moon launch Thursday night

TechCrunch - Tue, 2019-02-19 14:07

For the first time later this week, a privately developed moon lander will launch aboard a privately built rocket, organized by a private launch coordinator. It’s an historic moment in space and the Israeli mission stands to make history again if it touches down on the Moon’s surface as planned on April 11.

The Beresheet (“Genesis”) program was originally conceived as an entry into the ambitious but ultimately unsuccessful Google Lunar Xprize in 2010, which challenged people to accomplish a lunar landing, with $30 million in prizes as the incentive. The prize closed last year with no winner, but as these Xprize competitions aim to do, it had already spurred great interest and investment in a private moon mission.

SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries worked together on the mission, which will bring cameras, a magnetometer and a capsule filled with items from the country to, hopefully, a safe rest on the lunar surface.

The Beresheet lander ahead of packaging for launch

The launch plan as of now (these things do change with weather, technical delays and so on) is for takeoff at 5:45 Pacific time on Thursday — 8:45 PM in Cape Canaveral — aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. A live stream should be available shortly before, which I’ll add here later or in a new post.

Thirty minutes after takeoff the payload will detach and make contact with mission control, then begin the process of closing the distance to the Moon, during which time it will circle the Earth six times.

Russia, China and of course the U.S. are the only ones ever to successfully land on the Moon; China’s Chang’e 4 lander was the first to soft-land (as opposed to impact) the “dark” (though really only far — it’s often light) side and is currently functional.

But although there has been one successful private lunar flyby mission (the Manfred Memorial probe) no one but a major country has ever touched down. If Beresheet is a success it would be both the first Israeli moon mission and the first private mission to do so. It would also be the first lunar landing to be accomplished with a privately built rocket, and the lightest spacecraft on the Moon and, at around $100 million in costs, the cheapest as well.

Landing on the Moon is, of course, terribly difficult. Just as geosynchronous orbit is far more difficult than low Earth orbit, a lunar insertion orbit is even harder, a stable such orbit even harder and accomplishing a controlled landing on target even harder than that. The only thing more difficult would be to take off again and return to Earth, as Apollo 11 did in 1969 and other missions several times after. Kind of amazing when you think about it.

Seattle’s Spaceflight coordinated the launch, and technically Beresheet is the secondary payload; the primary is the Air Force Research Labs’ S5 experimental satellite, which the launch vehicle will take to geosynchronous orbit after the lunar module detaches.

Although Beresheet may very well be the first, it will likely be the first of many: other contenders in the Lunar Xprize, as well as companies funded or partnering with NASA and other space agencies, will soon be making their own attempts at making tracks in the regolith.