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Apple Cook roasted for Chinese app takeaway

The Register - 8 hours 25 min ago
Cruz missile targets iPhone head honcho for pulling software from shelves at Middle KIngdom's behest

A pair of senior US Senators are calling out Apple CEO Tim Cook for what they call "enabling the Chinese government's censorship and surveillance of the internet."…

Deep inside a gold mine with the researcher who found the 'Devil Worm' - CNET - News - 8 hours 48 min ago
If we can find life two miles underground, we might be able to find it on Mars.

Apple's Chicago riverfront store is its latest statement piece - CNET - News - October 19, 2017 - 10:55pm
The glass structure seemingly flows from the downtown area to the Chicago River. It's meant to be the best representation of Apple's "Town Square" vibe.

Samsung DV7750 dryer review - CNET - Reviews - October 19, 2017 - 10:52pm
Spend less cash, time doing laundry with this Samsung dryer.

Hate to break it to you, but billions of people can see Uranus tonight

The Register - October 19, 2017 - 10:51pm
Some may even glimpse the ring

Attention, inhabitants of the northern hemisphere of our fragile home world. You're about to get one of the best peeks at Uranus in years – because the strange alien planet will reach opposition with the Sun and be at the closest point in its orbit to Earth.…

Lyft gets $1B investment, led by Alphabet - CNET - News - October 19, 2017 - 10:33pm
The ride-hailing company's valuation is now at $11 billion, which could help fuel its quest to beat rival Uber.

Axon wants you (yes, you!) to submit photos, videos to police

Ars Technica - October 19, 2017 - 10:29pm

Enlarge / An officer demonstrates Axon Citizen, a new Web portal to submit data to police. (credit: Axon)

Axon, the company formerly known as Taser, either wants to encourage helpful citizens or snitches—depending on how you feel about talking to police—to come forward.

On Thursday, the company announced "Axon Citizen," a new "public safety portal" that lets civilians submit text, video, and audio files directly to participating law enforcement agencies that use its cloud storage service,

The company, which already is the largest provider of body-worn cameras and associated storage to American law enforcement agencies, said in a press release that submitted data "goes straight into, so community members do not need to hand their phones over to police. The direct upload to eliminates any need for officers to download, print, and transfer data to a USB drive and physically place it inside an evidence locker at the agency."

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Amazon Echo (2017) Release Date, Price and Specs - CNET - Reviews - October 19, 2017 - 10:28pm
Here's everything you need to know about the 2017 version of the Amazon Echo.

Alphabet leads $1 billion investment in Lyft, but is GM on the way out?

Ars Technica - October 19, 2017 - 10:15pm

Enlarge / A Lyft-branded car picks up a passenger in San Francisco on June 20, 2015. (credit: Ramin Talaie | Getty Images)

In September, we found out that Alphabet was possibly about to invest in the ride-hailing company Lyft. On Wednesday, Recode reported that the speculation was correct, and Google's parent company is leading a $1 billion round of investment that raises Lyft's valuation to $11 billion. Another Alphabet company, Waymo, is developing self-driving cars and partnered with Lyft earlier this year, presumably for the infrastructure that will allow it to find customers for the service that looks set to launch in Phoenix, Arizona.

As we explained recently, Lyft has been putting together a host of partnerships of late, an Android-like strategy that is positioning the company well for the coming years. Lyft has become a recognized and trusted brand, which is critically important when trying to get customers to choose you over a rival like Uber. Lyft has also inked deals with Jaguar Land Rover and Ford, and General Motors invested $500 million in the company last year.

GM and Lyft were believed to be planning on filling the streets of San Francisco with driverless Bolt electric vehicles in 2018. But according to The Information, that may not be the case. The outlet reported that Cruise—which GM bought for $1 billion in 2016 to develop autonomous vehicles—may work with beleaguered Uber instead as its ride-hailing partner. However, according to Forbes, the automaker says that "nothing has changed in the relationship between GM and Lyft."

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Google Pixel 2 XL screen fix may be on the way - CNET - News - October 19, 2017 - 9:45pm
The company recognizes the widespread complaints about the phone's screen and is considering changing the software.

Running chemical reactions in liquid metal makes atomically thin materials

Ars Technica - October 19, 2017 - 9:35pm

Enlarge / Droplets of a gallium/indium alloy. (credit: Collin Ladd, NC State University)

The discovery of graphene—a one-atom-thick sheet of covalently bonded carbon atoms—inspired the research community to generate a variety of 2D materials. Graphene, MoS2, the silicon equivalent of graphene, and more all have distinct properties based on the chemical bonding among their component atoms. And it's possible to leverage these properties to create commonplace devices on an unprecedentedly small scale, like a three-atom-thick LED.

Obviously, the more materials we have to work with, the better we can fine-tune one of these devices to our needs. But producing 2D materials is a challenge, as there are a limited number of substances that lend themselves to the chemically bonded layers we know how to work with. Now, an Australian-US team (writing in Science) has devised a way to make a broad class of atomically thin metal oxides, including 2D versions of materials already in use by the electronics industry. Their secret? A room temperature liquid metal.


This is one of those cases where a series of simple observations led to a major development. In many cases, pure metals will react with oxygen in the air to form a thin oxide layer on their surface. This, it turns out, is true for one of the metals that is liquid near room temperature: gallium, which melts at 30 degrees Celsius. Leave some liquid gallium exposed to the air, and it'll form a thin film of gallium oxide on its surface.

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The Mac mini isn’t dead yet, says Tim Cook

Ars Technica - October 19, 2017 - 9:20pm

The 2014 Mac Mini. (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

More than 1,000 days have passed since Apple updated its Mac mini hardware. Since then, Apple has launched the Apple Watch, AirPods, the retina MacBook, and the Touch Bar MacBook Pro. Meanwhile, the Mac mini has existed in a state of arrested development. You'd be forgiven for considering the possibility that the product has been living its last days. But in an e-mail to an Apple customer today, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the Mac mini isn't going anywhere.

The customer, who goes by the name Krar, e-mailed Cook to note that the Mac mini hasn't seen an update in three years. Krar wanted to know, "Are we are going to see anything in the pipeline any time soon?" Cook's response, which was shared on MacRumors, said:

I'm glad you love the Mac mini. We love it too. Our customers have found so many creative and interesting uses for the Mac mini. While it is not time to share any details, we do plan for Mac mini to be an important part of our product line going forward.

He's not saying much, but even confirmation that this product has a future is in some ways surprising. The entry-level Mac mini still runs on Haswell processors and Intel HD 5000 integrated graphics. It comes with only 4GB of RAM. It starts at $499, but other compact desktops offer much more current specs at that price point. The mini is clearly long overdue for an update, but because it's unclear which direction Apple might take the device with future iterations, it seemed like a safe bet that its time on the market was drawing to a close.

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Couple sues PG&E for negligence, says power lines caused wildfire

Ars Technica - October 19, 2017 - 9:06pm

Enlarge / SANTA ROSA, CA -OCTOBER 14: The ruins of houses destroyed by the Tubbs Fire are seen near Fountaingrove Parkway on October 14, 2017 in Santa Rosa, California. At least 40 people are confirmed dead with hundreds still missing. Officials expect the death toll to rise and now estimate that 5,700 structures have been destroyed. (credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

A couple who lost its Santa Rosa home in the devastating October Tubbs Fire has sued the local utility for negligence, saying that untrimmed tree branches caught fire when they came into contact with power lines and other equipment.

The California Department of Forestry hasn’t officially ruled on what caused the October fires that consumed hundreds of thousands of acres in northern California and killed dozens of people, but officials have asked Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) to preserve records for subsequent investigations into the causes of the fires.

Last week, the Bay Area paper Mercury News reported that the night the fires started, “emergency dispatchers in Sonoma County received multiple calls of power lines falling down and electrical transformers exploding.” The night had been a particularly windy one, and PG&E spokesperson Matt Nauman told the paper that “The historic wind event that swept across PG&E service area late Sunday and early Monday packed hurricane-strength winds in excess of 75mph in some cases.”

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iPhone X arrival could slash iPhone 8, Plus output in half - CNET - News - October 19, 2017 - 9:04pm
If true, it could be the earliest production cut in iPhone history.

Facebook, Google and pals may be hit with TV political ads rules

The Register - October 19, 2017 - 9:02pm
Election security is national security, says senator as US law shakeup proposed

Facebook and Google, along with other online publishers, may soon be required in the US to disclose funding for paid political ads.…

Apple Mac Mini comeback? Tim Cook hints at one - CNET - News - October 19, 2017 - 8:53pm
An Apple fan emailed the CEO to ask what's up with the Mac Mini and received a hopeful response.

CIA bomb-sniffing dog flunks out of training in Twitter saga - CNET - News - October 19, 2017 - 8:43pm
Follow the riveting story of Lulu, a good dog just not cut out for the CIA's bomb-sniffing K9 Corps training program.

Dealmaster: Get a Dell XPS Tower desktop with 16GB of RAM for $620

Ars Technica - October 19, 2017 - 8:40pm

Greetings, Arsians! Courtesy of our friends at TechBargains, we have another round of deals to share. Today's list includes the usual slew of PC and laptop discounts, including savings on a Dell XPS Tower desktop, several Dell laptops, and even a Star Wars-themed Lenovo notebook.

The rest of the roundup includes deals on wireless home cameras, 4K TVs, and networking equipment, among other things. You can take a peek below.

Note: Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.

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FYI Google is shelling out $10k A DAY in court fines for not handing over folks' private email

The Register - October 19, 2017 - 8:32pm
Judge rules in battle over seizure of overseas Gmail files

Google and the US government are quarreling over just how much money the Chocolate Factory must pay in daily fines while it appeals against a search warrant for email held overseas.…

Blue Origin just sent a jolt through the aerospace industry

Ars Technica - October 19, 2017 - 8:31pm

Blue Origin

New space company Blue Origin has spent the better part of this decade developing a powerful rocket engine for use in its orbital rocket, New Glenn, and potentially other US-based launchers. This engine, the liquid natural gas-powered BE-4, has been closely watched both within the aerospace industry and in military space because it uses innovative new technology, has largely been developed with private funding, and is fully reusable.

However, while there was great promise with the new engine, it still had to perform. And so the aerospace community has been watching development of the engine to see if it could pass a key hurdle—a hot-fire test. After months of waiting, that's what finally happened on Wednesday at the company's facility in West Texas when the BE-4 engine fired at 50-percent power for three seconds.

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