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Scammer who made 96 million robocalls should pay $120M fine, FCC says

Ars Technica - June 22, 2017 - 10:25pm

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Besjunior)

The Federal Communications Commission today said that a scammer named Adrian Abramovich "apparently made 96 million spoofed robocalls during a three-month period" in order to trick people into buying vacation packages. The FCC proposed a fine of $120 million, but it will give the alleged perpetrator a chance to respond to the allegations before issuing a final decision.

The robocalls appeared to come from local numbers, and they told recipients to "press 1" to hear about exclusive vacation deals from well-known hotel chains and travel businesses such as Marriott, Expedia, Hilton, and TripAdvisor, the FCC said.

"Consumers who did press the button were then transferred to foreign call centers where live operators attempted to sell vacation packages often involving timeshares," the FCC said. "The call centers were not affiliated with the well-known travel and hospitality companies mentioned in the recorded message."

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WikiLeaks doc dump reveals CIA tools for infecting air-gapped PCs

The Register - June 22, 2017 - 10:12pm
Brutal Kangaroo jumps network breaks, according to leaked classified info

WikiLeaks has published online more top-secret documents it has obtained from the CIA describing the agency's hacking tools. This time the dossier details software codenamed Brutal Kangaroo that agents can use to infect targets' air-gapped computers with malware.…

Indian teen celebrates as Nasa sends satellite to space

BBC Technology News - June 22, 2017 - 9:59pm
The tiny satellite was designed by Rifath Sharrook, 18, and manufactured using a 3-D printer.

YouTube hopes to hook you with 180-degree videos - CNET - News - June 22, 2017 - 9:56pm
You know how 360-videos were all the thing? Well, they're really hard to make. So now Google's pushing on 180-degree videos.

Let's go live to the 3rd circle of Hell – and see what Comcast and Charter are screwing up

The Register - June 22, 2017 - 9:52pm
Allegations of digging up rivals' cables, breaking promises

A Texas telco says Comcast sabotaged its cable network after it refused a buyout offer.…

Tesla could be your next streaming music provider - CNET - News - June 22, 2017 - 9:41pm
The car company -- yes, car company -- is reportedly thinking of getting into the music business. Because why not?

Valve tries to one-up Oculus Touch with five-finger “Knuckles” VR controller

Ars Technica - June 22, 2017 - 9:35pm

Valve / SteamVR

We first heard about Valve's plans for a new SteamVR controller back in October when a few pictures and basic impressions started leaking out of the press-free Steam Dev Days conference. Now we're getting more details about the upcoming VR hardware—code-named Knuckles—thanks to documents posted on SteamVR's Knuckles Dev Kit group page.

The most important confirmation in the new documents is that the Knuckles controllers allow for full, independent tracking of all five fingers. Embedded, capacitive sensors in the handle of the unit track the position of the middle, ring, and pinky fingers, while similar sensors in the trigger and face buttons track the index finger and thumb. A ring of sensors around the thumbpad and the back of the hand helps track the unit in space through the standard Lighthouse system.

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House lawmakers endorse reusable rockets for military purposes

Ars Technica - June 22, 2017 - 9:20pm

Enlarge / SpaceX launched its first military payload on May 1. Now the US House of Representatives said the military should consider reusable rockets. (credit: SpaceX)

The US Congress has begun the "markup" process to consider budget appropriations for fiscal year 2018, and on Thursday, the House subcommittee overseeing Strategic Forces held a hearing for the National Defense Authorization Act. This bill provides funding for the military, including the Air Force, which oversees efforts to launch spy and communications satellites, as well as other national defense payloads.

As part of the process, Arizona Republican Trent Franks offered an amendment that stated the government should move rapidly to evaluate the potential use of reusable space launch vehicles such as those being flown by SpaceX. Co-sponsored by New Jersey Democrat Donald Norcross, the amendment passed on a voice vote.

This represents a remarkable turnaround for SpaceX and the federal government. After filing a lawsuit against the Air Force three years ago for the right to bid on military launch contracts, the California-based company only began flying military payloads for the government in May. Now lawmakers seem to be warming quickly to the company's vision of low-cost access to space.

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Breaking news, literally: Newspaper's quakebot rumbled for fake story

The Register - June 22, 2017 - 9:16pm
Software glitch led to algorithm emitting 90-year-old info

A Los Angeles Times article-writing bot sent shockwaves through the internet Wednesday – by falsely reporting a hefty 6.8M earthquake had hit Santa Barbara county, California.…

So far, Beyond Good and Evil 2 prototype looks like No Monkey’s Sky

Ars Technica - June 22, 2017 - 9:06pm

Enlarge / Fly, monkey, fly! (credit: Ubisoft)

Ubisoft Creative Director Michel Ansel took to YouTube on Thursday to finally show the world that, yes, Beyond Good & Evil 2 is more than an unplayable cinema sequence. However, anybody expecting to see gameplay that resembled the game's incredible E3 2017 reveal may be disappointed.

Ansel spoke over a 15-minute prototype gameplay demo, and he described vague design aspirations while mostly showing off the game's space-travel systems. This demo starred the same foul-mouthed monkey that stole the show in BG&E2's debut trailer. In Ansel's prototype, we see this simian pilot two spaceships, and he also floats around by himself using a jet pack. However, in spite of an apparent bustling city beneath our hero, Ansel never flies anywhere near it.

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Waymo: We've got a hot smoking gun in Uber 'tech theft' brouhaha

The Register - June 22, 2017 - 9:01pm
As taxi app maker staff demand T-Bone Kalanick is restored to the throne

Waymo has proof Uber execs knew their star engineer Anthony Levandowski was in possession of designs stolen from Waymo well before Uber acquired Levandowski's self-driving vehicle startup.…

Cricket is the latest to give out wireless goodies - CNET - News - June 22, 2017 - 8:59pm
The wireless carrier says it's going to offer discounted gift cards and other items as part of a new rewards program.

You can give the finger with Valve's new Knuckles controller - CNET - News - June 22, 2017 - 8:46pm
The game company is designing a controller to display people's individual fingers in virtual reality. So get ready to point, direct and high-five.

Tesla inches closer to building EVs in China with new talks - Roadshow - News - June 22, 2017 - 8:44pm
It's not as simple as setting up a factory and going to town on the assembly line.

All the Airbus aircraft at the Paris Air Show - CNET - News - June 22, 2017 - 8:39pm
Airbus flew into Paris with a redesigned A380, its new A350-1000 and more. Join us for a walk around Le Bourget Airport.

Airbus unveils new aircraft and a floating black box - CNET - News - June 22, 2017 - 8:39pm
At the Paris Air Show, Airbus aimed to overfly Boeing with a redesigned version of its giant A380 and a concept aircraft that flies both like a helicopter and an airplane.

Which smart speaker will give you the best workout? - CNET - News - June 22, 2017 - 8:39pm
We take a look at the current state of smart voice control speakers as personal trainers.

Jump for joy: See Super Mario through a HoloLens AR headset - CNET - News - June 22, 2017 - 8:32pm
Goombas don't stand a chance against a HoloLens-wearing first-person Super Mario player who conquers a mixed-reality version of the classic game.

Some Uber workers pushing to bring back Kalanick, says report - CNET - News - June 22, 2017 - 8:31pm
An alleged petition says Uber shouldn't have caved to pressure from the media and investors in regard to former CEO Travis Kalanick.

Spider-Man takes driver's test in an Audi (things get messy) - CNET - News - June 22, 2017 - 8:20pm
Commentary: To go with its product placement in the "Spider-Man: Homecoming" movie, Audi releases an ad in which Peter Parker shows off a little. Well, a lot.

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