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'Why I write fake online reviews'

BBC Technology News - April 17, 2019 - 4:09pm
Two people explain why they post made-up reviews, while psychologists deconstruct the power of the review.

Rumored lidar shopping suggests Apple is still serious about autonomy

Ars Technica - April 17, 2019 - 4:06pm

Enlarge (credit: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Apple has talked to at least four different companies about purchasing lidar sensors, Reuters reports. Apple is also reportedly working on a home-built lidar sensor. The news suggests that Apple is still taking its self-driving car effort, known internally as Project Titan, seriously.

Apple hasn't publicly revealed what kind of self-driving technology it is working on, and indeed reporting suggests that the company's plans have shifted over time. Way back in 2015, the Wall Sreet Journal reported that Apple was developing an electric car and had hundreds of people working on the project. The next year, the New York Times reported that Apple was scaling back the project and was looking to partner with an existing automaker rather than building a car from scratch. By 2017, the Times was reporting that Apple had "put off any notion of an Apple-branded autonomous vehicle and is instead working on the underlying technology that allows a car to drive itself."

Last year, Apple rehired Doug Field, a former Apple executive who had left to oversee Tesla's vehicle engineering—once again sparking speculation that Apple might get into manufacturing. In January, Apple laid off about 200 Project Titan engineers and reassigned others in a shakeup led by Field.

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TED 2019: Prize to online classes project causes controversy

BBC Technology News - April 17, 2019 - 4:01pm
Plans to give millions of dollars to a program for online learning for pre-schoolers has been criticised.

The wave of domain hijackings besetting the Internet is worse than we thought

Ars Technica - April 17, 2019 - 4:00pm

Enlarge / Artist's impression of state-sponsored "Sea Turtle" hacking campaign. (credit: Chunumunu / Getty Images)

The wave of domain hijacking attacks besetting the Internet over the past few months is worse than previously thought, according to a new report that says state-sponsored actors have continued to brazenly target key infrastructure despite growing awareness of the operation.

The report was published Wednesday by Cisco’s Talos security group. It indicates that three weeks ago, the highjacking campaign targeted the domain of Sweden-based consulting firm Cafax. Cafax’s only listed consultant is Lars-Johan Liman, who is a senior systems specialist at Netnod, a Swedish DNS provider. Netnod is also the operator of i.root, one of the Internet’s foundational 13 DNS root servers. Liman is listed as being responsible for the i-root. As KrebsOnSecurity reported previously, Netnod domains were hijacked in December and January in a campaign aimed at capturing credentials. The Cisco report assessed with high confidence that Cafax was targeted in an attempt to re-establish access to Netnod infrastructure.

Reverse DNS records show that in late March nsd.cafax.com resolved to a malicious IP address controlled by the attackers. NSD is often used to abbreviate name server demon, an open-source app for managing DNS servers. It looks unlikely that the attackers succeeded in actually compromising Cafax, although it wasn't possible to rule out the possibility.

Read 22 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Nikola Motor Company shows off two real trucks and… a new jet ski?

Ars Technica - April 17, 2019 - 3:54pm

Ars makes every effort to cover its own travel costs. We covered the flight out to Scottsdale, Arizona, but Nikola covered one night in a nearby hotel.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.—Nikola Motor Company announced a slew of all-electric and hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles on a cool Tuesday night in a warehouse surrounded by desert. The company seems to be positioning itself as the "trucker's Tesla," serving up Budweiser (supplied by partner-customer Anheuser-Busch) and country music to the same industry watchers and investors that Tesla usually courts.

Of the five products that Nikola CEO Trevor Milton talked about on Tuesday night, very little came as a true surprise to watchers of the company. There were two trucks: the Nikola Two and the Nikola Tre (for European markets), as well as a Utility Task Vehicle (UTV) for off-roading, a military-grade UTV, and a previously unannounced jet ski.

Read 28 remaining paragraphs | Comments

The Jaguar I-Pace wins World Car of the Year, World Green Car awards

Ars Technica - April 17, 2019 - 3:15pm

NEW YORK—On Wednesday morning, the Jaguar I-Pace won this year's World Car of the Year award at the 2019 New York International Auto Show. It beat two other finalists, the Audi e-tron and Volvo's S60 and V60 twins to top honors, as voted by a panel of 86 journalists from around the world. Disclosure: for the second year in a row, I was one of those judges. We were asked to score each eligible car on a range of attributes, including safety, the environment, performance, design, and value, but only for vehicles we actually drove. You can see the list of eligible vehicles for this year's awards here. (Sorry, Tesla fans: the Model 3 is really rather good but went on sale too long ago to be considered for this year's awards.)

I'm not surprised that the I-Pace won; as a battery electric vehicle it scored highly on its green credentials, it's a joy to drive, and it looks stunning inside and out. Much of that can be said about the Volvos and the Audi, but if I had a place to charge it and I could afford one, the I-Pace would be my pick to replace our now-totaled Saabaru. (I don't, can't, and my wife gets to pick the next car anyway.)

The Audi and Jaguar were also contenders for the World Green Car award, joined by the Hyundai Nexo hydrogen fuel cell car. It also really impressed me with a great interior and a calming driving style despite my continued skepticism for hydrogen as a fuel. I've repeatedly complained that it's taking the industry too long to get real about alternative powertrains, but the fact that two-thirds of the "green" cars were also finalists for the big trophy should be grounds for some optimism. In fact, as the Volvos are available as plug-in hybrid EVs, all three of the WCOTY finalists can be driven to the shops and back without burning a drop of gasoline.

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Xbox One with no discs: 'The way forward' or 'bad timing'?

BBC Technology News - April 17, 2019 - 3:06pm
Gamers give their verdict as Microsoft announces an "all-digital edition" of the console.

Nintendo Labo VR review: There’s no “Nintendo magic” inside these lenses

Ars Technica - April 17, 2019 - 2:58pm

Enlarge / Your intrepid author, staring intensely into the Nintendo Labo VR universe. (credit: Sam Machkovech)

Above all the other failings of Nintendo Labo VR, the biggest might be its lack of "Nintendo magic."

Virtual reality has already emerged as a millions-selling gaming genre, complete with beautiful, compelling, and unique experiences that scale from giant HTC Vive rooms to cramped PlayStation VR stations. When Nintendo barges into a new control paradigm, it usually tops the recent competition with either a hardware innovation, a game-design revelation, or a brilliant combination of the two.

But Nintendo Labo VR, the company's first serious VR product, is hamstrung by a nagging feeling that its solution to "VR-on-Switch" is the very thing getting in the way of the fun. Its players are constantly urged to get out of VR, whether by lengthy cardboard build times, pint-sized VR experiences, or the sheer strain of having a 720p Switch screen filtered through a pair of glass lenses.

Read 33 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Government in email privacy blunder

BBC Technology News - April 17, 2019 - 2:54pm
A department responsible for data protection shares the personal details of hundreds of journalists.

Apple, Qualcomm Settle Royalty Dispute

Slashdot - April 17, 2019 - 2:45pm
Categories: Geek, Opinion

Netflix to trial showing top 10 lists to UK users

BBC Technology News - April 17, 2019 - 2:32pm
Streaming company Netflix is to trial showing UK users its most-watched shows over a weekly period.

NASA says Christina Koch will spend 328 days in space

Ars Technica - April 17, 2019 - 2:11pm

Enlarge / There will be a lot of pizza nights for Christina Koch, NASA's newest extended-stay astronaut. (credit: NASA)

On Wednesday morning, NASA announced that Christina Koch, who is already living on board the International Space Station, will extend her mission to 328 days. By doing so, she will become the space agency's second astronaut to spend nearly a year inside the orbiting laboratory.

"It feels awesome," Koch said in a video interview from the station. "I have known that this is a possibility for a long time, and it's truly a dream come true to know that I can continue to work on the program that I have valued so highly my whole life, to continue to contribute to that, to give my best to that for as long as possible is a true honor and a dream come true."

Koch launched to the station on March 14, along with Aleksey Ovchinin and Nick Hague. As a result of the schedule adjustment, she is now expected to remain in orbit until February 2020, when she returns in a Soyuz spacecraft with NASA astronaut Luca Parmitano and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov. By doing so, Koch will set a record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman, surpassing the 288 days NASA's Peggy Whitson spent in space from 2017 to 2018.

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Star Wars: Mark Hamill supports superfan's emotional video

BBC Technology News - April 17, 2019 - 1:31pm
Mark Hamill supports a YouTuber who faced a backlash for his tearful reaction to the new Star Wars trailer.

Intel quits 5G modem business hours after Apple settles with Qualcomm

Ars Technica - April 17, 2019 - 1:02pm

Enlarge / A 5G Intel logo is seen during the Mobile World Congress on February 26, 2019 in Barcelona. (credit: Miquel Benitez/Getty Images)

Intel says it is canceling a line of smartphone 5G chips that had been slated for 2020 launches. The announcement comes on the same day Apple announced a wide-ranging settlement with Qualcomm over patent issues.

Qualcomm has long been a dominant player in the wireless chip business for smartphones. Apple worries about becoming too dependent on a single supplier. So in recent years, Apple has encouraged Intel to expand its wireless chip offerings and offered Intel a significant share of its business for 4G chips in the iPhone.

Then last year, as Apple's legal battle with Qualcomm heated up, Intel became Apple's sole supplier for 4G wireless chips in the iPhone. Intel additionally was working to develop 5G chips for Apple to use in future versions of the iPhone. But recent reports have indicated that Intel was "missing deadlines" for the wireless chip that was slated to go into the 2020 model of the iPhone.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Google to police new app developers more closely

BBC Technology News - April 17, 2019 - 12:34pm
Apps from unfamiliar developers will be scrutinised more deeply before they go on the Play Store.

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