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Industry & Technology

Nestle and Epic pull YouTube ads over offensive content

BBC Technology News - 30 min 16 sec ago
Several big firms pull ads after they appear next to content that allegedly sexualised children.

Galaxy Fold: The internet reacts to Samsung's flexible phone

BBC Technology News - 1 hour 27 min ago
The handset-maker wows with its phone-tablet hybrid, but many struggle to get over its price.

Florida inmate says prison sold him $569 of music, then took it away

Ars Technica - February 20, 2019 - 11:48pm

Enlarge (credit: Gerardo Mora/Getty Images)

Florida inmate William Demler says that since 2012, he has spent $569.50 on digital music via a proprietary digital music service sponsored by the Florida prison system. Demler listened to his music on a prison-sponsored music player he purchased for $99.95. Demler, who is serving a life sentence, says ads for the prison-sponsored service promised access to his music for his entire prison term.

But last year, the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) switched music vendors, and as a result, Demler lost access to his music collection. He was told that he'd need to buy the same songs again using the new system if he wanted to continue listening to them.

So Demler is suing the FDOC, arguing that the prison system broke its own promises and violated the US Constitution by depriving him of his music without compensation. He is seeking class-action status, allowing him to represent every prisoner in the Sunshine State who has lost access to the music.

Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

How did Yoshi’s Island music end up in an official US gov’t Web game?

Ars Technica - February 20, 2019 - 11:27pm

Enlarge / A shot from the EPA's Recycle City Challenge. Not shown: The Yoshi's Island DS music that played in the background of the game. (credit: EPA.gov)

A flash game available on the Environmental Protection Agency website since at least early 2017 made surprising use of copyrighted music from Nintendo's 2006 game Yoshi's Island DS.

Recycle City Challenge is an extremely simple educational Flash game that asks players to answer basic questions about how to reduce waste and energy use. But yesterday, fan site Nintendo Soup was among the first to publicly notice that the Web game used a looping version of Yoshi's Island DS' "Underground" theme in the background.

The music, which played in a version of Recycle City Challenge accessed by Ars as recently as this morning, has since been removed from the live version on the EPA's website. You can still hear it in this Internet Archive copy of the site, though, and compare that directly to the same song on the Yoshi's Island DS soundtrack. Perhaps not coincidentally, a file named "yoshidsunderground.mp3" containing a copy of the song in question was in a music subfolder on the EPA website (as cataloged in this Internet Archive link) until earlier today.

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Galaxy Fold: Samsung unveils 'luxury' smartphone

BBC Technology News - February 20, 2019 - 11:12pm
Samsung unveils its smartphone with a folding screen, but the price will likely put most people off.

Hubble images show a Neptune moon that may have been repeatedly reborn

Ars Technica - February 20, 2019 - 11:07pm

Enlarge / An artist's concept of the tiny moon Hippocamp. (credit: NASA, ESA, and J. Olmsted)

As the Voyager probes moved through the outer Solar System, they compiled a massive record of discovery. Among the newly found objects and phenomena were a large collection of small moons orbiting Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Most of these were beyond the ability of Earth-based hardware to image at the time—we actually had to be there to see them.

Since then, however, improvements in ground-based optics and the existence of the Hubble Space Telescope have enabled us to find a few small bodies that had been missed by the Voyagers, as well as other small objects elsewhere in the Solar System, such as the Kuiper Belt object recently visited by New Horizons. Now, researchers have found a way to use advances in computation to increase what we can do with imaging even further, spotting a tiny new moon at Neptune and possibly spotting another for the first time since Voyager 2 was there.

Finding moons

Given that Neptune has been visited by Voyager 2 and imaged frequently since then, any moons we haven't already spotted are going to be pretty hard to see, presumably because they're some combination of small and/or dim. The simplest way to see them is to increase the exposure time, allowing more opportunity for dim signals to emerge from the noise. This method won't work if there's a bright object nearby, which isn't so much of a problem with the outer planets.

Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Samsung refreshes wearables line, including new Galaxy Watch Active

Ars Technica - February 20, 2019 - 9:15pm

Along with the S10 smartphones and the new Galaxy Fold handset, Samsung officially announced new wearables in its Galaxy family at its Unpacked event today. Information that leaked just days ago about Samsung's own Galaxy Wearables mobile app has been proven correct, as Samsung showed off a new Galaxy Watch Active smartwatch, a Galaxy Fit tracker, and new true wireless earbuds called the Galaxy Buds.

Starting in the audio department, the Galaxy Buds are Samsung's latest entry in the cordless earphone market popularized by Apple's AirPods. Samsung says they get six hours of battery life on their own per charge, with an additional seven hours available through their charging case. That case supports wireless charging, and it can be powered by one of those new Galaxy S10 phones.

The company claims the Galaxy Buds' case is 30 percent smaller than that of its previous Gear IconX earbuds. Samsung's much-maligned Bixby assistant is built into the earphones by default, letting users perform some smartphone controls with their voice—send texts, answer calls, change songs, and more—but the earphones can also use Google Assistant. They connect over Bluetooth 5, and Samsung is touting easier connectivity with its own devices. The company says the Galaxy Buds' audio has been tuned by its AKG subsidiary, though we'll have to give them a listen before making any judgments there.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Samsung reveals Galaxy Fold and S10 5G

BBC Technology News - February 20, 2019 - 9:13pm
The "luxury" foldable-screened phone can run up to three apps at once when opened up into tablet mode.

Samsung officially debuts Galaxy S10 smartphone after weeks of rumors, leaks

Ars Technica - February 20, 2019 - 8:32pm

Today is Samsung's big launch event, and the company has made the thoroughly leaked Galaxy S10 official. The company announced the S10 and S10 Plus smartphones onstage today at Samsung Unpacked 2019 after it unveiled the impressive and incredibly expensive Galaxy Fold foldable handset.

The Galaxy S line never joined the notch trend of 2018, and this year, Samsung is going with a new scheme to maximize display space while still having a front camera: the hole-punch display. Samsung is pushing the display boundaries all the way out to the edges of the phone. A camera is located under the display panel, so you get a display with a round camera hole in it (cut out by a laser) and pixels all around the camera lens.

The slimmer bezels means screen sizes are getting even bigger. The S10 has a 6.1-inch 3040×1440 AMOLED display—up from 5.8-inches in the S9—while the S10 Plus is getting a 6.4-inch 3040×1440 AMOLED panel—up from 6.2-inches on the S9 Plus and now the same size as the Galaxy Note 9. Both phones are a few millimeters wider than last year, so they will feel a bit bigger when you're holding them.

Read 15 remaining paragraphs | Comments

First look at Samsung S10 and Fold phones

BBC Technology News - February 20, 2019 - 8:28pm
The BBC's Rory Cellan-Jones goes hands-on with the new phones in Samsung's Galaxy range.

Forget Airwolf: One of these is the Army’s next assault “helicopter”

Ars Technica - February 20, 2019 - 8:20pm

The Army's future "helicopter" takes shape. A transcript of this video can be found here. (video link)

The Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk and its many variants have been the backbone of the US Army's helicopter force for decades. Designed during the Army's last major helicopter procurement push in the 1980s, the Black Hawk now flies in some form in all of the military services. But its range and speed have become limiting factors in the Army's airborne assault operations. And to add to the problem, the Army lacks a scout helicopter that meets the demands of deployment overseas. The Eurocopter UH-72 Lakota isn't combat-capable, so AH-64 Apaches have had to play the role of armed scouts with the assistance of drones.

As a result, the Army has two separate helicopter procurement programs running for the first time since the Black Hawk and Apache were in the pipeline. The two programs, which emerged from the "capability sets" of the Army's Future Vertical Lift program, seek Black Hawk and Kiowa replacements that are "optionally manned"—meaning that they can fly with or without an aircrew—as well as being easier to maintain and fly than their predecessors.

Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Samsung’s foldable phone is finally official—meet the Galaxy Fold

Ars Technica - February 20, 2019 - 8:09pm

After years of teasing, Samsung on Wednesday took the wraps off its first foldable smartphone: the Galaxy Fold.

The device will start at a whopping $1,980 and arrive on April 26. It'll hit Europe on May 3 and start at €2,000. Samsung says it will sell both LTE and 5G-capable variants, but has only confirmed AT&T and T-Mobile as carrier partners in US. The electronics giant detailed the Android phone-tablet hybrid at an event in San Francisco, where it also unveiled its new flagship Galaxy S10 phones.

As the company hinted at its developers conference last year, the Galaxy Fold consists of two OLED displays: a 4.6-inch, 21:9, 1960x840-resolution panel that serves as a more traditional smartphone display, and a foldable 7.3-inch, 4.2:3, 2152x1536-resolution panel that behaves more like a tablet.

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Ajit Pai says broadband access is soaring—and that he’s the one to thank

Ars Technica - February 20, 2019 - 8:06pm

Enlarge / FCC Chairman Ajit Pai listens during a Senate Commerce Committee hearing in Washington, DC, on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. (credit: Getty Images | Bloomberg)

Ajit Pai says the Federal Communications Commission's annual broadband assessment will show that his deregulatory policies have substantially improved access in the United States. The annual report will also conclude that broadband is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely basis.

The FCC hasn't released the full Broadband Deployment Report yet and won't do so until the commission votes on whether to approve the draft version sometime in the next few weeks. For now, the FCC has only issued a one-page press release with a few data points and some quotes from Chairman Pai in which he claims that his policy changes caused the improvements.

But Pai offered no proof of any connection between his policy decisions and the increased deployment. Moreover, broadband deployment improved at similar rates during the Obama administration, despite Pai's claims that the FCC's net neutrality rules harmed deployment during that period.

Read 16 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Facebook 'failed to protect’ health data in private groups

BBC Technology News - February 20, 2019 - 7:35pm
A complaint says Facebook should have told users of their data being downloaded from private groups.

Liveblog: The Samsung Galaxy S10 launch

Ars Technica - February 20, 2019 - 7:30pm

Enlarge (credit: Samsung)

Samsung Unpacked 2019 will kick off Wednesday, February 20, at 11am Pacific (2pm ET) in San Francisco. We're going to hear all about Samsung's Flagship lineup for 2019, which includes the Galaxy S10 in many variants.

We already have a huge post here outlining what to expect, but the highlight of the event will be the Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus. These devices are expected to bring a number of advancements to mainstream smartphones. They will be one of the first device families to feature the Snapdragon 855 SoC, Wi-Fi 6, and an ultrasonic in-screen fingerprint sensor. There's also a slick new "hole punch" camera cutout in the display, along with slim bezels, which means the displays are getting even bigger.

We're also getting way more than just the S10 and S10 Plus. There's expected to be a cheaper version of the Galaxy S10 called the "Galaxy S10e," and we might get a look at the upcoming 5G version. Samsung has also spent some time teasing that "The future of mobile will unfold" at the event, which means we'll hear a bit more about the company's upcoming foldable smartphone (the Galaxy F?).

Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Could Huawei threaten the Five Eyes alliance?

BBC Technology News - February 20, 2019 - 7:06pm
Different views about the threat posed by the Chinese firm pose risks to the intelligence alliance.

Report: Trump officials tried to fast-track nuclear tech transfer to Saudi Arabia

Ars Technica - February 20, 2019 - 7:06pm

Enlarge / President Donald Trump is intent on a deal that allows Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud's government to purchase nuclear technology built by US companies. There's a small problem with that: it's against the law. (credit: Anadolu Agency / Getty Images)

An interim report from the staff of the US House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform shows evidence that members of the Trump transition team and administration attempted to push through a plan from a consortium advised by former National Security Advisor Gen. Michael Flynn to sell nuclear technology to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The plan would have led to the construction of 40 nuclear power plants and facilities to enrich uranium fuel. The technology, while focused on civil nuclear power, could give the Saudis resources that could be used to build nuclear weapons. The plan would also have pumped billions into a number of US companies involved in the nuclear industry, including the bankrupt nuclear services company Westinghouse Electric—which would have build the reactors.

Jeffrey Lewis, a nonproliferation expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, told NPR's Ari Shapiro in an interview that the details in the report were "bonker-balls…can't come up with a better word. It's one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. It's a half-baked, grandiose plan with all kinds of things that could go wrong in it and people screaming at them to stop. And they don't stop."

Despite repeated wave-offs by national security officials, members of the White House team and Trump confidants outside the White House—including Tom Barrack, the chairman of the Trump inauguration committee and a close friend of the president—continued to press forward on the scheme. Barrack, who urged Trump to take on Paul Manafort as his campaign manager, also tried to broker a secret meeting between Manafort and the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, according to a New York Times report.

Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Users alarmed by undisclosed microphone in Nest Security System

Ars Technica - February 20, 2019 - 5:00pm

Enlarge / You can't see it, but there is actually a microphone in here. (credit: Nest)

Google's Nest smart home brand is in hot water this week after news surfaced (via Daring Fireball) that its home security system, Nest Secure, shipped with an undisclosed microphone. Google activated the microphone earlier this month for Google Assistant functionality, but that meant the device sat in users' homes for up to a year as an unknown potential listening device.

Nest Secure launched last year as a $500 home security system. It's just a collection of door, window, and motion sensors, along with a small desktop box that acts as a hub for the devices and a security code keypad. It has a speaker for alarms and other sounds, but it isn't something you would ever expect to have a microphone.

Google gave a statement to Business Insider yesterday, saying, “The on-device microphone was never intended to be a secret and should have been listed in the tech specs. That was an error on our part.” According to the company, "the microphone has never been on and is only activated when users specifically enable the option.”

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Microsoft, Paradox allow open game modding on Xbox One for the first time

Ars Technica - February 20, 2019 - 4:54pm

Enlarge / Surviving Mars will be the first Xbox One game to allow the upload of user-created mods without pre-approval.

In a console industry first, Paradox Interactive and Microsoft are allowing Xbox One players to get direct access to game modifications created on the PC without any pre-approval from the console maker or publisher.

This isn't the first time players have been able to add their own modified content to a console game. Bethesda enabled Fallout 4 mods on Xbox One back in May 2016 and on PlayStation 4 months later. Paradox itself followed with a similar modding program for the Xbox One version of Cities: Skylines early last year.

But the player-made mods made available on those and other console games in the past had one major distinction from their PC cousins: they had to be individually and manually approved by the platform holder and game publisher for potential content and security issues.

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Tesla’s top lawyer leaves after two months—but don’t worry

Ars Technica - February 20, 2019 - 4:06pm

Enlarge / Elon Musk in 2018. (credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

Tesla announced Wednesday that it is replacing general counsel Dane Butswinkas, who had been on the job for only two months. Tesla Legal Vice President Jonathan Chang will take the job.

The groundbreaking electric carmaker has suffered a number of senior executive departures in the last couple of years—and some were of surprisingly short tenure. Last September, Chief Accounting Officer Dave Morton announced that he was leaving after less than a month on the job.

Tesla short-sellers have revelled in this kind of news. Especially last year, as Tesla was struggling to ramp up Model 3 production and Musk was dealing with the fallout from several self-inflicted problems, critics portrayed each departure as the latest sign that rats were fleeing a sinking ship.

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments


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