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What happened to VR at E3 2019? A quiet showing for virtual things - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2019-06-15 07:00
In the year of the VR's biggest hardware upgrade, the Oculus Quest, game companies were strangely silent in Los Angeles.

YouTube TV review: It's a cable replacement, but it's not for budget hunters anymore - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2019-06-15 07:00
YouTube TV offers an excellent live TV streaming experience with a healthy selection of channels, but it may not save cord-cutters much money over standard cable.

Cellebrite Says It Can Unlock Any iPhone For Cops

SlashDot - Sat, 2019-06-15 06:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Wired: On Friday afternoon, the Israeli forensics firm and law enforcement contractor Cellebrite publicly announced a new version of its product known as a Universal Forensic Extraction Device or UFED, one that it's calling UFED Premium. In marketing that update, it says that the tool can now unlock any iOS device cops can lay their hands on, including those running iOS 12.3, released just a month ago. Cellebrite claims UFED Premium can extract files from many recent Android phones as well, including the Samsung Galaxy S9. No other law enforcement contractor has made such broad claims about a single product, at least not publicly. The move signals not only another step in the cat and mouse game between smartphone makers and the government-sponsored firms that seek to defeat their security, but also a more unabashedly public phase of that security face-off. "Cellebrite is proud to introduce #UFED Premium! An exclusive solution for law enforcement to unlock and extract data from all iOS and high-end Android devices," the company wrote on its Twitter feed for the UFED product. On a linked web page, the company says the new tool can pull forensic data off any iOS device dating back to iOS 7, and Android devices not just from Samsung but Huawei, LG, and Xiaomi.

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Samsung's Galaxy Fold delay could extend through June?

Engadget - Sat, 2019-06-15 04:19
The strange case of Samsung's Galaxy Fold may drag on throughout the summer, according to a report in The Korea Herald. The outlet -- which reported in May that Samsung would reach a conclusion on the launch in a couple of days -- now says that accor...

Astronomers Detected Signs of Our Milky Way Colliding With Another Galaxy

SlashDot - Sat, 2019-06-15 03:00
fahrbot-bot shares a report from ScienceAlert: Antlia 2, the "ghost of a galaxy" orbiting the Milky Way, is a dark horse in more ways than one. Not only is it so faint it was only just discovered last year, it may now be responsible for curious ripples in the hydrogen gas that makes up the Milky Way's outer disc. According to new research, Antlia 2's current position is consistent with a collision with the Milky Way hundreds of millions of years ago that could have produced the perturbations we see today. The paper has been submitted for publication and is undergoing peer review. Antlia 2 was a bit of a surprise when it showed up in the second Gaia mission data release last year. It's really close to the Milky Way -- one of our satellite galaxies -- and absolutely enormous, about the size of the Large Magellanic Cloud. Further reading: CNET

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Arctic Permafrost Melting 70 Years Sooner Than Expected, Study Finds

SlashDot - Fri, 2019-06-14 23:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report The Weather Channel: Scientists studying climate change expected layers of permafrost in the Canadian Arctic to melt by the year 2090. Instead, it's happening now. A new study published this week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters revealed that unusually warm summers in the Canadian High Arctic between 2003 and 2016 resulted in permafrost melt up to 240% higher than previous years. Louise Farquharson, a researcher at the Permafrost Laboratory at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the study's lead author, told weather.com the three areas of melting permafrost studied in remote northern Canada are believed to have been frozen for thousands of years. She noted that while scientists had predicted the permafrost wouldn't melt for another 70 years, those forecasts didn't take into account the unusually warm summers that have happened in recent years. While researchers believe all indicators point to warmer temperatures continuing, there's no way to know for sure just how quickly the permafrost will continue to melt. Not only is rapidly melting permafrost a symptom of global warming, but it accelerates climate change by exposing thawing biological material to the atmosphere where it decomposes and releases CO2, a key element in global warming.

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Prenda Copyright Troll Sentenced To 14 Years

SlashDot - Fri, 2019-06-14 22:10
JustAnotherOldGuy shares a report from Boing Boing: For years, Paul Hansmeier terrorized internet users through his copyright trolling racket Prenda Law, evading the law through shell companies and fraud, until, finally, he was brought to justice and pleaded guilty last August. Now, Hansmeier has been sentenced to 14 years in prison and must pay $1.5 million in restitution to his victims -- the same people he accused of being copyright infringers and then bullied into paying "settlement" fees to avoid being dragged through expensive litigation. Any Prenda Law victim can contact the Minnesota DA to apply for compensation. Prenda's tactics included identity theft, entrapment (uploading their own files to The Pirate Bay in order to generate downloads that they could threaten people over), and several kinds of fraud. Hansmeier and his co-defendant, John Steele, were indicted for money laundering, perjury, mail and wire fraud. Both men entered into plea agreements.

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NYT: Sprint, T-Mobile merger could get federal approval next week

Engadget - Fri, 2019-06-14 22:03
Just days after AGs representing ten states filed suit to stop the combining of Sprint and T-Mobile, the New York Times reports the Justice Department is "moving closer" to approval. Doing so apparently hinges on an arrangement, previously reported,...

Texas Appeals Court Says Government Can't Be Sued For Copyright Piracy

SlashDot - Fri, 2019-06-14 21:30
sandbagger writes: Photographer Jim Olive's helicopter shot of Houston was used by the University of Houston on their website after they removed his watermark, a definite no-no particularly since the image was used for their school of business. The photographer then sent the university a bill for $41,000 -- $16,000 for the usage and $25,000 for removing his copyright credit. After the matter ended up in court, the university pushed for the case to be dismissed because the public institution has sovereign immunity, which protects state government entities from a variety of lawsuits and the appeals court agreed. The matter will likely go before the Supreme Court (in Allen v. Cooper) sometime in 2020. "Even if the government sets itself up as a competitor by producing a copyrighted work, there probably is not good reason to conclude automatically that the copyright has been 'taken,'" the three-judge panel cites in its ruling. "The copyright holder can still exclude all private competitors even as the government pirates the entirety of his work." "[W]e hold that the Olive's takings claim, which is based on a single act of copyright infringement by the University, is not viable," the ruling continues. "This opinion should not be construed as an endorsement of the University's alleged copyright infringement, and as discussed, copyright owners can seek injunctive relief against a state actor for ongoing and prospective infringement. Instead, in the absence of authority that copyright infringement by a state actor presents a viable takings claim [...] we decline to so hold." The National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) notes that the U.S. Congress passed the Copyright Remedy Clarification Act (CRCA) decades ago to prevent states from having governmental immunity from copyright claims, but some appeals courts have held that CRCA goes beyond Congress' powers and have therefore struck it down as unconstitutional.

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Amazon quietly shuts down its shopping social network Spark - CNET

CNET News - Fri, 2019-06-14 21:03
Spark appears to have vanished from Amazon.

Ask Slashdot: Should All OSs Ship With a Programming Language Built In?

SlashDot - Fri, 2019-06-14 20:50
dryriver writes: If anybody remembers the good old Commodore 64, one thing stood out about this once popular 8-bit computer -- as soon as you turned it on, you could type in BASIC (Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) and run it. You didn't have to install a programming language, an IDE and all that jazz. You could simply start punching code in, and the C64 would execute it. Now that we live in a time where coding is even more important and bankable than it was back in the 1980s, shouldn't operating systems like Windows 10 or Android also come with precisely this kind of feature? An easy-to-learn programming language like the old BASIC that greets you right after you boot up the computer, and gives you unfettered access to all of the computer's hardware and capabilities, just like was possible on the C64 decades ago? Everybody talks about "getting more people to learn coding" these days. Well, why not go the old C64 route and have modern OSs boot you straight into a usable, yet powerful, coding environment? Why shouldn't my Android phone or tablet come out of its box with a CLI BASIC prompt I can type code into right after I buy it from a store?

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Black Hat cancels Rep. Will Hurd's headline speech after Twitter backlash - CNET

CNET News - Fri, 2019-06-14 20:11
Opponents criticized Hurd's record on women's rights.

Graphene As an Open-Source Material

SlashDot - Fri, 2019-06-14 20:10
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: The 2D wonder-material graphene could greatly benefit from the widespread experimentation of open-source use. In its current state, graphene is primarily researched by scientists in universities and labs, but by making graphene a material that is open to be improved upon by anyone, we might see the fulfillment of the potential that graphene has been hailed for since its discovery. Graphene's capabilities are staggering -- it is essentially 2D, flexible, 200 times stronger than steel, conducts heat 10 times better than copper and conducts electricity 250 times better than silicon. Its abilities are far-reaching and extremely potent, making graphene applications nearly endless. As it stands, graphene research is limited to a select few technology companies -- Samsung, for instance, has the most graphene patents to date. Otherwise, most graphene research is done in university labs. In the same way that open-sourcing has built up software and related technologies, open-sourcing could also viably allow a wider range of individuals and communities to help unlock graphene's unrealized potential. Graphene is fundamentally different from software in that it is a physical resource. Since the material's discovery, quantity has been a serious issue, preventing the material from seeing widespread use. Natural reserves of graphene are few and far between, and while scientists have discovered ways of producing graphene, the methods have proved unscalable. In addition, graphene would need a way to be experimented with by the average user. For those who don't have the same equipment researchers do, how can they go about tinkering with graphene? In order for graphene to become an open-source material, a solution for these two problems must be found.

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iOS 13 hints at exciting iPhone 11 feature - CNET

CNET News - Fri, 2019-06-14 19:47
Will the next iPhone switch from Lightning to USB-C? Or will it finally include a fast charger in the box? The new icon on the iOS 13 developer's beta shows that one of these options could become a reality.

UK Porn Block Is a 'Privacy Timebomb,' New Report Warns

SlashDot - Fri, 2019-06-14 19:30
New age restrictions on pornography that are set to come into effect in the UK next month are a "privacy timebomb," a new report by privacy watchdog Open Rights Group has warned. They say that the data protection in place to protect consumers is "vague, imprecise and largely a 'tick box' exercise." The Independent reports: The identity checks needed to stop under-18s from visiting pornographic websites will force any commercial provider of online pornography to carry out "robust" checks on their users to ensure they are adults. The age verification measures will be introduced on 15 July but a recent YouGov poll showed that 76 per cent of the British public is unaware of the ID checks being introduced. "With one month until rollout, the UK porn block is a privacy timebomb," the report stated. Estimates suggest around 20 million adults in the UK watch porn, meaning the scale of any privacy breaches could be vast. "Due to the sensitive nature of age verification data, there needs to be a higher standard of protection than the baseline which is offered by data protection legislation," said Open Rights Group executive director Jim Killock. "The BBFC's standard is supposed to deliver this. However, it is a voluntary standard, which offers little information about the level of data protection being offered and provides no means of redress if companies fail to live up to it." Mr Killock said the standard was therefore "pointless and misleading."

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Verizon's fiber network connects NBA arenas for 1080p broadcasts

Engadget - Fri, 2019-06-14 19:24
Verizon (Engadget's parent company) plans to connect all NBA arenas to a high-speed fiber network for better HD broadcast support. When the network is up and running in the second half of 2020, the league will be able to broadcast games from every te...

Kia's Seltos gets teased just a little more in a YouTube video - Roadshow

CNET News - Fri, 2019-06-14 19:04
Thankfully Kia's new crossover has good looks to back up its weird name.

Study Finds That a GPS Outage Would Cost $1 Billion Per Day

SlashDot - Fri, 2019-06-14 18:50
A new comprehensive study on Global Positioning System technology has examined what effect a 30-day outage would have on the U.S. economy -- whether it's due to a severe space weather event or "nefarious activity by a bad actor." If a widespread outage were to occur, the study estimates it would have a $1 billion per-day impact. "It would likely be higher during the planting season of April and May, when farmers are highly reliant on GPS technology for information about their fields," adds Ars Technica. From the report: To assess the effect of an outage, the study looked at several different variables. Among them was "precision timing" that enables a number of wireless services, including the synchronization of traffic between carrier networks, wireless handoff between base stations, and billing management. Moreover, higher levels of precision timing enable higher bandwidth and provide access to more devices. (For example, the implementation of 4G LTE technology would have been impossible without GPS technology). In the case of an outage, there would be relatively minimal impacts over the first two days, but after that time, the wireless network would begin to degrade significantly. After 30 days, the study estimates that functionality would lie somewhere between 0 percent and 60 percent of normal operating levels. Landline phones would be largely unaffected.

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Adobe AI can spot facial manipulations in Photoshop - CNET

CNET News - Fri, 2019-06-14 18:23
Adobe and UC Berkeley say their artificial intelligence tool can spot doctored images 99% of the time.

Retail Stores Use Bluetooth Beacons To Track Customers

SlashDot - Fri, 2019-06-14 18:10
In an opinion piece for The New York Times, writer Michael Kwet sheds some lights on the secret bluetooth surveillance devices retailers use to track your every move and better serve ads to you. Anonymous reader shares an excerpt from the report: Imagine you are shopping in your favorite grocery store. As you approach the dairy aisle, you are sent a push notification in your phone: "10 percent off your favorite yogurt! Click here to redeem your coupon." You considered buying yogurt on your last trip to the store, but you decided against it. How did your phone know? Your smartphone was tracking you. The grocery store got your location data and paid a shadowy group of marketers to use that information to target you with ads. Recent reports have noted how companies use data gathered from cell towers, ambient Wi-Fi, and GPS. But the location data industry has a much more precise, and unobtrusive, tool: Bluetooth beacons. These beacons are small, inobtrusive electronic devices that are hidden throughout the grocery store; an app on your phone that communicates with them informed the company not only that you had entered the building, but that you had lingered for two minutes in front of the low-fat Chobanis. Most location services use cell towers and GPS, but these technologies have limitations. Cell towers have wide coverage, but low location accuracy: An advertiser can think you are in Walgreens, but you're actually in McDonald's next door. GPS, by contrast, can be accurate to a radius of around five meters (16 feet), but it does not work well indoors. Bluetooth beacons, however, can track your location accurately from a range of inches to about 50 meters. They use little energy, and they work well indoors. That has made them popular among companies that want precise tracking inside a store. In order to track you or trigger an action like a coupon or message to your phone, companies need you to install an app on your phone that will recognize the beacon in the store. Retailers (like Target and Walmart) that use Bluetooth beacons typically build tracking into their own apps. But retailers want to make sure most of their customers can be tracked -- not just the ones that download their own particular app.

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