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Industry & Technology

Ariane chief seems frustrated with SpaceX for driving down launch costs

Ars Technica - 1 hour 23 min ago

Enlarge / The Ariane 5 rocket launches in April, 2018. (credit: Ariane Group)

The France-based Ariane Group is the primary contractor for the Ariane 5 launch vehicle, and it has also begun developing the Ariane 6 rocket. The firm has a reliable record—indeed, NASA chose the Ariane 5 booster to fly its multi-billion dollar James Webb Space Telescope—but it also faces an uncertain future in an increasingly competitive launch market.

Like Russia and the US-based United Launch Alliance, the Ariane Group faces pricing pressure from SpaceX, which offers launch prices as low as $62 million for its Falcon 9 rocket. It has specifically developed the Ariane 6 rocket to compete with the Falcon 9 booster.

But there are a couple of problems with this. Despite efforts to cut costs, the two variants of the Ariane 6 will still cost at least 25 percent more than SpaceX's present-day prices. Moreover, the Ariane 6 will not fly until 2020 at the earliest, by which time Falcon 9 could offer significantly cheaper prices on used Falcon 9 boosters if it needed to. (The Ariane 6 rocket is entirely expendable).

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Brit reseller Aria PC mounts appeal against £750k taxman VAT fiddle ruling

The Register - 1 hour 24 min ago
Full details of case now available after Reg legal victory

Computer parts reseller Aria Technology, which trades as Aria PC, is appealing against a ruling that it defrauded the UK taxman out of £750,000 of VAT.…

Capcom requires high-speed streaming to play Resident Evil 7 on Switch

Ars Technica - 1 hour 36 min ago

Capcom's announcement video for the Japanese Biohazard 7: Cloud Edition.

Capcom will give Japanese Switch owners a chance to play last year's Resident Evil 7 on the Switch later this week. But the port will only be playable as an online stream running on Capcom's own servers, rather than a downloaded version that would run directly on the Switch's relatively low-powered hardware.

On May 24, Biohazard 7: Cloud Edition will be offered to Japanese consumers as a 15-minute free trial and a 180-day, ¥2,000 (about $18) streaming "play ticket," according to a trailer posted by Nintendo Everything. The 45MB download includes streaming access to all of the game's DLC but not the English-language translation, so most Westerners shouldn't even bother trying to play from across the ocean.

Earlier this month, Sega's Japanese Switch port of Phantasy Star Online 2 used a similar cloud server structure to stream gameplay to the system. This seems to be the first time an exclusively single-player game is being streamed to the Switch rather than ported as a direct download, though. There have also been cloud-powered versions of Final Fantasy XIII and Dragon Quest X for Japanese smartphones in recent years.

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Audi teases the Q8 again, this time in an action-movie web series - Roadshow - News - 1 hour 49 min ago
The first episode of a five-part thriller doesn’t really do much to show off the Q8.

Buick’s Smart Driver explains why my gas mileage sucks—and my editor’s doesn’t

Ars Technica - 1 hour 50 min ago

Enlarge (credit: Buick)

Everyone thinks they're a good driver. Despite this, the annual death toll on our roads keeps going up—despite ever-safer vehicles—and human error is to blame for 97 percent of all fatal crashes. Bad driving isn't just about crashes, though; racing from stoplight to stoplight is bad for the planet, since it adds unnecessary carbon to our atmosphere at a time when we can ill afford it. In the age of the connected car, it has become trivial to quantify just how good or bad a driver one is; for some time now, some insurance companies have been supplying customers with plug-in devices that can track their driving and—assuming it's good—offer a discount as a result. But you don't even need one of those dongles to do that, as some new cars can do that tracking on their own.

A while back, we tested out a Buick Enclave that comes with a feature called Teen Driver that lets parents monitor their offspring remotely behind the wheel. And, as it turns out, there's an adult version, too—it's called Smart Driver.

Smart Driver leverages General Motors' OnStar platform. Sensors on the car record events like hard braking, hard acceleration, high-speed driving, late-night driving, and fuel economy, uploading that data to OnStar's cloud where it can be accessed via the myBuick app.

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High-end router flinger DrayTek admits to zero day in bunch of Vigor kit

The Register - 1 hour 59 min ago
'It may be possible for an attacker to intercept your router'

Taiwanese network kit maker DrayTek has 'fessed up to a vulnerability in a large number of its routers which could allow miscreants to hijack internet traffic or steal personal data.…

The 'affordable' Tesla Model 3 is still months away - Roadshow - News - 2 hours 6 min ago
Model 3 production rates are the biggest thing standing between the public and the $35,000 Tesla.

Huawei MateBook Pro X will be landing in the US - CNET - News - 2 hours 6 min ago
As trade negotiations with China start to warm, Huawei's wasting no time.

Apple might launch cheaper HomePod under Beats brand - CNET - News - 2 hours 14 min ago
The latest scuttlebutt has Apple producing a $200 HomePod and thinking different about its branding.

Who is Deadpool 2's Cable? Here's everything you need to know - CNET - News - 2 hours 18 min ago
The most convoluted backstory in comics, explained.

OnePlus 6 review - CNET - Reviews - 2 hours 26 min ago
Yet another unmissable deal from Android's indie star.

Apple Powerbeats headphones in 'sweat-proof' legal action

BBC Technology News - 2 hours 26 min ago
A group claims that the headphones' battery life is not as strong as advertised.

Slurp up patient data for algos that will detect cancer early, says UK PM

The Register - 2 hours 27 min ago
Hitches NHS cart to data, AI bandwagon, as medical groups urge patient choice

The UK prime minister has been wooed by the promises made by proponents of artificial intelligence, today pledging more use of algorithms and data-crunching in the health service.…

Inside an Amazon warehouse that ships your supersized purchases - CNET - News - 2 hours 29 min ago
Because if you want a javelin or a life-size Yeti statue, you need it with two-day shipping.

Elon Musk's LA Loop spectacle left me dazzled and confused - CNET - News - 2 hours 32 min ago
At times rambling and meandering, Musk still managed to be engaging. Here's what it's like to watch him live.

Apple cracks down on CallKit-enabled apps in China’s App Store

Ars Technica - 2 hours 32 min ago

Enlarge (credit: ymgerman / Getty Images News)

A new group of apps in China's App Store is facing scrutiny from Apple. According to a report from 9to5Mac, the iPhone maker is curtailing apps with CallKit framework due to a "newly enforced regulation" from the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. Apple started sending notices to developers whose apps use the CallKit framework, notifying them that CallKit functionality isn't allowed in China due to the new regulations. Developers reportedly have two options: remove CallKit framework from their apps, or remove their apps from China's App Store entirely.

Apple introduced CallKit with iOS 10. It allows developers to build calling services into related applications, but it doesn't actually make calls. CallKit provides the interface, allowing the application to have a more native look, while developers can use a VoIP system on the back-end to handle making the calls.

The Chinese government frowns upon VoIP services, since they can allow users to bypass surveillance measures that the government has put in place. It's believed that Skype was removed from the App Store for a similar reason last year. The popular Chinese chat app WeChat supported Apple's CallKit briefly, but the functionality was removed shortly after implementation.

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All the live TV streaming services compared: Which has the best channel lineup? - CNET - News - 2 hours 45 min ago
Sling TV, DirecTV Now, YouTube TV, Hulu and PlayStation Vue are all vying for your cord-cutting dollar. Here's how the top 100 channels stack up.

Facebook and Qualcomm aim to bring mega-fast Wi-Fi to urban areas - CNET - News - 3 hours 1 min ago
The two companies are working together on Facebook's millimeter-wave Terragraph tech.

MegaBots’ Eagle Prime was born to smash anything in its path

Ars Technica - 3 hours 13 min ago

Enlarge / Meet Eagle Prime, your new robotic overlord. (credit: Chris Schodt)

OAKLAND, Calif.—As far as mass entertainment goes, giant robots smashing each other should be a sure bet. Turns out, there are a lot of kinks to work out first.

On Sunday, MegaBots, a Hayward, California-based company (approximately 19 miles south of Oakland) that builds these robo-gladiators, held its second live event. It was an experiment of sorts. Instead of a robo-battle, it was more of a droid demolition derby, with MegaBots flagship mech Eagle Prime smashing appliances, a piano, and for the grand finale, a Chevy Astro van.

Chris Schodt

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