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Dealmaster: Save big on Windows laptops and smart TVs ahead of Memorial Day

Ars Technica - May 23, 2019 - 5:51pm

Enlarge (credit: Valentina Palladino)

Greetings, Arsians! The Dealmaster is back with another round of deals to share. Memorial Day hasn't arrived yet, but the holiday deals are already in full swing. Before you get out of town for the long weekend, you can snag big sales on some of our favorite Windows laptops from the likes of Dell, HP, and Lenovo. You can get the newest Dell XPS 13 laptop, featuring a Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB SSD for just $979.

The XPS 13 has always been a stellar laptop, but Dell made a few updates this year that pushed it up to the top spot in our Windows ultrabook guide. It's constructed beautifully and sturdily with a mixture of aluminum and woven fiberglass (depending on the model), and now it's not blemished by an unflattering up-nose cam. Dell's new, 2.25mm FHD webcam sits atop the FHD display so you can video chat without worrying about your on-camera appearance.

On top of that, the XPS 13 laptop has a comfortable keyboard and trackpad area, a fingerprint sensor embedded into its power button, and superb performance with an average battery life of about 13 hours base on our testing. The biggest things you can complain about are its display's 16:9 aspect ratio, which admittedly isn't ideal, and its scant port selection that includes just two Thunderbolt 3 ports, one USB-C 3.1 port, one microSD card slot, a headphone jack, and a lock slot. The base laptop still costs $899, but you'll save $230 if you opt for this more powerful model.

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Subscribe to Ars and get 20% off

Ars Technica - May 23, 2019 - 5:20pm

Enlarge (credit: Getty / Aurich Lawson)

The final weekend in May marks the unofficial start of summer (at least at the Orbiting HQ, where our season simulator is aligned with the Northern Hemisphere). It's a time for farmers' markets, parades, and cookouts, if you're into those sorts of things. But who would want to spend time out under the Daystar absorbing UV radiation and swatting away flying disease vectors when you could be reading the latest from your favorite website?

We've got some improvements to Ars in the works. We plan to tweak the commenting system and are working on a complete overhaul of our mobile site. Part of what makes these improvements—and indeed, all of our work—possible is the support of our readers. To make that more enticing, we are offering 20% off any subscription to Ars Technica. Ars Pro is discounted to $20 from $25 and Ars Pro++ is just $40.

In addition to supporting our mission of bringing you the smart reporting Ars readers have come to love, subscribing to Ars comes with a bunch of other perks. All Ars Pro and Ars Pro++ subscribers get a completely ad-free experience. Based on reader feedback, we also removed all tracking scripts for subscribers. Beyond that, subscribers get Classic View (a throwback to the old-school Ars experience), full-text RSS feeds, premium forum access, and PDFs of all our stories.

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Why the quirky Playdate portable could succeed where Ouya failed

Ars Technica - May 23, 2019 - 5:03pm

Enlarge / Little. Yellow. Different.

Remember microconsoles? Years before "the streaming era" that Sony now says is upon us, there was a period there where the conventional wisdom was that traditional consoles were dead and lower-priced microconsoles were the wave of the future.

In that time, upstarts like Ouya and established brands like Sony, Nvidia, Mad Catz, Apple, Amazon, and more jumped into the microconsole gaming market in one form or another.

Their bet was that there was an audience who wanted to play games on the TV but didn't want to spend hundreds of dollars on a full-fledged console that was overkill for the large flood of indie games out there. But then tens of millions of people bought the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One (and later the Nintendo Switch) and the bottom largely fell out of the microconsole market (though no one has told Atari, apparently).

Read 17 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Huawei: China warns of investment blow to UK over 5G ban

BBC Technology News - May 23, 2019 - 4:04pm
A top Chinese diplomat tells the BBC there could be "substantial" repercussions if the UK bars Huawei.

The Boring Company appears to have its first paying customer

Ars Technica - May 23, 2019 - 3:48pm

Enlarge / A view of the exit of The Boring Company's test tunnel in Hawthorne. (credit: The Boring Company)

On Wednesday, the board of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) voted to grant The Boring Company—Elon Musk's private tunneling venture—a $48.6 million contract to build a two-mile Loop at the expanding Las Vegas Convention Center.

LVCVA officials recommended The Boring Company's proposal to the board back in March, saying that it had the most competitive price among the transportation companies that submitted proposals. At the time, Boring Company officials said they could build the Convention Center's transportation system for between $33 million and $55 million. According to the Las Vegas Sun, the final cost for the project is expected to be $52.5 million.

Elon Musk's Boring Company wants to ameliorate traffic by moving people through tunnels on electric cars or electric skates at speeds of up to 155 miles per hour. Musk has said he can significantly reduce the cost of tunneling through the company's technical improvements to boring machines, the reuse of dirt to create concrete reinforcement, the use of continuous tunneling and reinforcing operations, and by digging smaller tunnels that don't need to accommodate internal combustion engines.

Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Linda Hamilton is back and buff as ever in Terminator: Dark Fate trailer

Ars Technica - May 23, 2019 - 3:42pm

Linda Hamilton reprises her role as the original Sarah Connor in Paramount Pictures’ Terminator: Dark Fate.

Linda Hamilton is back as Sarah Connor, as tough and distrustful of time-traveling sentient machines as ever, in the first trailer for Terminator: Dark Fate, the sixth installment in hugely influential franchise.

(Mild spoilers for original Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgement Day below.)

The entire franchise is premised on the notion that sentient killing machines from the future can be sent back in time to take out key human figures destined to lead the resistance against the self-aware AI network known as Skynet, thereby preventing a nuclear holocaust that wipes out the human race. In the original Terminator film, the target was a young and innocent Sarah Connor, future mother to resistance leader John Connor. Then came Terminator 2: Judgement Day, or as I like to call it, The Best Damn Sequel of All Time. A second Terminator is sent to take out a teenaged John—with the twist that Schwarzenegger's original Terminator has been reprogrammed as his protector against a newer model known as the T-1000.

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Tech trade war: After Huawei, which Chinese firms are next on US enemies list?

ZDnet Blogs - May 23, 2019 - 1:06pm
If the cold war with China intensifies, more companies with alleged ties to the Chinese government could be prohibited from doing business with American firms.
Categories: Opinion

Staffsource: Ars staffers share their favorite books to get lost in this summer

Ars Technica - May 23, 2019 - 12:46pm

Enlarge (credit: Valentina Palladino)

Summer is the perfect time to catch up on all the things you've been meaning to do—like get your to-be-read (TBR) pile down to a manageable size (if that's even possible). As the longer days with better weather beg you to venture outside and crack open your current read, we at Ars considered our recent favorite reads to compile this makeshift summer 2019 reading list.

These titles may not be what most would consider "summer reads." Scant few white-sand beaches and picture-perfect resorts fill these pages—but that doesn't make them any less escape-worthy. Whether they be space operas or true crime sagas, we consider a "summer" read to be a story that you can fully immerse yourself in, leaving work and other worries behind even just for a little while.

Regardless of whether you prefer reading physical books, e-books, or audiobooks, these recommendations will keep you wanting to read all summer long. Apologies in advance for adding to your already extensive TBR—but we think these books are worth it.

Read 62 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Guidemaster: Ars tests and picks the best e-readers for every budget

Ars Technica - May 23, 2019 - 12:45pm

Enlarge / The new Kindle Paperwhite. (credit: Valentina Palladino)

If you want to not only read more, but read better, an e-reader may be for you. Yes, it has become easy to find material to read and to get it on any of the numerous devices we have in our electronic arsenals—smartphones, tablets, computers, and the like. But even in a world full of versatile devices, e-readers are still favorites among dedicated readers open to getting their hands on e-books and digital publications in many ways. Ultimately, it may be freedom through limitation: E-readers help you focus on the reading rather than the distractions that are oh so easily accessible through other electronics.

But that's just one perk to having a dedicated reading device that either replaces or supplements your physical library. While e-reader technology hasn't radically changed much in the past few years, companies have updated their most popular e-readers recently to make them even more useful and competitive. One e-reader also doesn't look very different from the next, so it can be difficult to tell them apart—but trust the dedicated readers of Ars, there are notable differences within this product category.

Luckily, to help you decipher the world of e-readers ahead of any beaches, porches, or general down time that may await you this summer, Ars has been testing and tinkering. Today, these are the best devices for all kinds of readers.

Read 53 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Why a Windows flaw patched nine days ago is still spooking the Internet

Ars Technica - May 23, 2019 - 12:25pm

Enlarge / Artist's impression of a malicious hacker coding up a BlueKeep-based exploit. (credit: Getty Images / Bill Hinton)

It has been nine days since Microsoft patched the high-severity vulnerability known as BlueKeep, and yet the dire advisories about its potential to sow worldwide disruptions keep coming.

Until recently, there was little independent corroboration that exploits could spread virally from computer to computer in a way not seen since the WannaCry and NotPetya worms shut down computers worldwide in 2017. Some researchers felt Microsoft has been unusually tight-lipped with partners about this vulnerability, possibly out of concern that any details, despite everyone’s best efforts, might hasten the spread of working exploit code.

Until recently, researchers had to take Microsoft's word the vulnerability was severe. Then five researchers from security firm McAfee reported last Tuesday that they were able to exploit the vulnerability and gain remote code execution without any end-user interaction. The post affirmed that CVE-2019-0708, as the vulnerability is indexed, is every bit as critical as Microsoft said it was.

Read 16 remaining paragraphs | Comments

DJI drones to come with plane detection

BBC Technology News - May 23, 2019 - 12:14pm
From January, new DJI drones will be able to detect nearby planes and helicopters.

Nintendo removes mobile games in Belgium

BBC Technology News - May 23, 2019 - 12:11pm
The two titles break local gambling laws that prohibit giving players random rewards in "loot boxes".

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