Technology

Recommended Reading: The rise of 'Desus & Mero'

Engadget - 3 hours 7 min ago
How 'Desus & Mero' conquered late night Jazmine Hughes, The New York Times It's nothing new for a popular podcast to make the leap to a television show or movie, but that's not stopping Showtime. This week, the network tapped Desus Nice and Th...
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Acer Chromebook Tab 10 review: Chrome OS revives Google’s tablet future

Ars Technica - 3 hours 22 min ago

Enlarge / Hellllloooooo Chrome OS tablets. (credit: Valentina Palladino)

Chrome OS took over schools with clamshells, but now Google is shaking things up with slabs. After a spring announcement, Acer has built the first Chrome OS tablet, the $329 Chromebook Tab 10, to give teachers and students a more flexible device to use for schoolwork both in and out of the classroom.

Some might perk up at the idea of a lightweight yet durable tablet with a 2048×1536 display and a built-in Wacom stylus running Chrome OS, but this device (like many other Chrome OS devices) will only be sold in the education market. While regular consumers may not be able to get their hands on the Chromebook Tab 10, however, there will be more Chrome OS tablets to come that will be sold to the general public.

After spending some time with this inaugural Chrome OS tablet, it would be remiss to think that it's essentially the same thing as an Android tablet—devices that are largely unsupported at this point. We may not be traditional educators or students at this point, but Ars tested the Chromebook Tab 10 with a few things in mind: how does the Chrome OS experience translate on a tablet sans-keyboard? And, perhaps more importantly, can Chrome OS bring Google's tablet category back from the dead?

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The Morning After: Weekend Edition

Engadget - 4 hours 37 min ago
Hey, good morning! You look fabulous. Welcome to the weekend. Before looking back at some highlights from the last week, you should take a minute to find out what's up with Babylon 5 on Amazon Prime and get all the details on a key Supreme Court rul...
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How American Vandal expertly crafted a doc (that just happened to be fiction)

Ars Technica - 5 hours 22 min ago

The American Vandal creative team chats with Ars at ATX TV Festival 2018. (video link)

Among the reasons Netflix’s American Vandal worked: dedication, not just to the bit but to the DNA. The creative team had an obsession with true crime documentaries, obviously. But they didn’t set out to make an homage, showrunner Dan Lagana and co-creators Dan Perrault and Tony Yacenda told Ars at this summer’s ATX TV Festival. Instead, they wanted to approach their fictional, scripted high school drama the exact same way Sarah Koenig (Serial) or Andrew Jarecki (The Jinx) would—like they were creating the most important documentary in the world.

“We didn’t want to do a parody. We love that stuff,” Yacenda later told the crowd during the show’s panel. “Sarah Koenig is a genius, what she did bringing us in as an unreliable narrator told a story in a way journalists wouldn’t before. We thought maybe we can do this for fictional narrative… if we use the tools our favorite documentarians use to get the audience to care, could we get people to care about dicks?”

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Electric GT's first race-spec Tesla Model S hits the track

Engadget - 5 hours 57 min ago
Two years ago, we learned that a Tesla Model S-based electric racing series was in development. This week Electric GT holdings showed off its first race-spec Model S P100DL in Barcelona ahead of the series' planned debut in November. Its builders say...
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Tesla fires back against alleged whistleblower: “he is nothing of the sort”

Ars Technica - 6 hours 18 min ago

Enlarge / Tesla CEO Elon Musk, seen here in April 2018. (credit: VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

Tesla is now wholly refuting the claims made by an ex-employee and self-proclaimed whistleblower who previously leaked information to the press.

In a lengthy statement provided Friday to Ars via a Tesla spokesperson, the company flatly denied that Martin Tripp, the man that the company sued earlier this week for alleged trade secrets violations, had any noble motivations.

"He is nothing of the sort," the company wrote. "He is someone who stole Tesla data through highly pernicious means and transferred that data to unknown amounts of third parties, all while making easily disprovable claims about the company in order to try to harm it."

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Snapdragon-based Chromebook could rival always-connected PCs

Engadget - 9 hours 36 min ago
You don't have great choices for non-Intel processors on Chromebooks at the moment -- the Rockchip-made parts you often see in low-end systems keep costs down, but they struggle with intensive tasks. That might not be an issue in the future. About...
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Valve's Knuckles EV2 controller will let you squeeze things in VR

Engadget - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 22:55
Valve originally introduced its vertical-grip "Knuckles" controllers for VR in 2016, and shipped working models to developers last year. Now the company sending game makers another version, the EV2, that has revamped buttons, straps and a slew of sen...
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A World Cup match was the 'most-watched' Spanish livestream ever

Engadget - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 21:27
The World Cup started last week, and with all the livestreaming options, it's no surprise that the matches have already attracted an enormous amount of views. But yesterday's match between Argentina and Croatia broke a new record when its Telemundo d...
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Buzz Aldrin returns to Twitter, sues his son and former manager

Ars Technica - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 20:25

Enlarge / NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, left, meets backstage with former NASA astronaut Buzz Aldrin, prior to giving the keynote speech at the Humans to Mars Summit in May, 2018, at George Washington University in Washington. (credit: NASA)

All is not well in the otherworldly world of the second human to walk on the Moon.

Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin has sued his family, including his son Andy Aldrin, former business manager Christina Korp, and several foundations. The suit alleges that the family has taken advantage of the 88-year-old through a de facto guardianship.

Filed on June 7 in a Florida judicial circuit court, and obtained Friday evening by Ars, the lawsuit alleges that Andy Aldrin and Korp used the former astronaut’s personal credit cards, trust accounts, artifacts, and social media accounts for their own purposes. It additionally alleges the following: that the family prevented Aldrin, who has been married three times, from marrying for a fourth time; that the family has “bullied” his romantic interests; and that the family has slandered the astronaut by saying he has dementia or Alzheimer’s.

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Facebook accidentally sent developer reports to app testers

Engadget - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 19:47
While Facebook is still reeling from it's Cambridge Analytica scandal, it has been trying to clean up its image as a company that plays fast and loose with your privacy. Unfortunately, there's yet another issue. According to TechCrunch, Facebook acci...
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A week of speedrunning for charity starts Sunday

Engadget - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 18:16
Summer Games Done Quick is back once again. Live from Minnesota, you can watch folks play through your favorite games as fast as they can, for charity. It starts Sunday afternoon at 12:30 PM Eastern and is scheduled to run until the wee hours next Su...
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Apple launches service program to address MacBook keyboard woes

Ars Technica - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 17:23

Enlarge / The keyboard on the 2016 Touch Bar MacBook Pro. (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

Apple has publicly acknowledged that the butterfly switch keyboards in some MacBook and MacBook Pro computers have given consumers some trouble, and it has launched a new repair service program that promises to fix problems with those keyboards for free, regardless of whether the consumer purchased AppleCare.

Apple says in its public documentation on the program that certain models of MacBook and MacBook Pro "may exhibit one or more of the following behaviors":

  • Letters or characters repeat unexpectedly
  • Letters or characters do not appear
  • Key(s) feel "sticky" or do not respond in a consistent manner

When they do, "Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider will service eligible MacBook and MacBook Pro keyboards, free of charge." Apple also says that consumers who previously paid for a repair can contact the company to request a refund.

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Apple will repair 'sticky' MacBook and MacBook Pro keyboards

Engadget - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 16:45
Apple launched a new keyboard service program today, acknowledging that the keyboards on certain MacBook and MacBook Pro models are prone to issues. If users of particular models find that letters or characters repeat unexpectedly or don't appear at...
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California bill could be a major boost to personal data privacy

Engadget - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 16:25
California legislators have introduced a bill that would give the state's residents more control over their online data and notably, would take the place of a proposed ballot measure that has been rigorously opposed by tech companies like Amazon and...
Categories: Technology

Selfies show worm slithered through woman’s face for 2 weeks

Ars Technica - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 16:19

Enlarge / Doctors were able to extract the worm, a D. repens. (credit: Kartashev and Simon)

A 32-year-old woman who visited a rural area outside of Moscow returned home with a surprising stowaway—in her face. And it was a restless one at that, according to a short report published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

After her trip, she noticed an unusual lump on her cheek, below her left eye. Five days later it was gone, but another had formed just above her left eye. Ten days after that, a lump resurfaced on her upper lip, causing massive swelling.

To track the progress of her roving blemish, she took selfies. In reports to doctors, she said that the nodules caused some burning and itchiness but no other symptoms or problems. She also noted her recent trip and recalled being frequently bitten by mosquitoes.

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Reddit is testing a news tab in its iOS app

Engadget - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 15:56
Reddit is making it simpler to find news on the platform with a beta test of a news tab in its iOS app. You might not always want to sift through personal essays and cat photos to find news from your favorite subreddits. So, Reddit is pulling from a...
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More details leak on “Snapdragon 1000,” Qualcomm’s chip for Windows 10 laptops

Ars Technica - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 15:55

Enlarge (credit: Qualcomm)

Details of the SDM1000, tentatively named Snapdragon 1000, a new Qualcomm chip built for Windows 10 laptops, have started to trickle out.

Microsoft's development of Windows 10 for ARM has seen the company partner with chip company Qualcomm. The first Windows 10 on ARM machines use the Snapdragon 835 processor, with designs based on the Snapdragon 850 (a higher clocked Snapdragon 845 intended for laptops) expected later this year. Snapdragon 1000 will be the follow-up to the 850.

The Snapdragon 1000 is believed to be an even more powerful laptop chip intended to go head to head with Intel's Y- and U-series Core processors. These have a 4.5W and 15W power envelope, respectively, and are used in a wide range of tablets and Ultrabook-type laptops. The Snapdragon 1000 is reported to have a 6.5W power draw for the CPU itself, with a total power draw of 12W for the entire SoC. The Snapdragon 1000 test platform has 16GB of LPDDR4X RAM and two 128GB UFS flash drives. It also has 802.11ad gigabit Wi-Fi, gigabit LTE, and a new power management controller.

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Tesla to cut nearly 20 percent of its SolarCity installation locations

Ars Technica - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 15:31

Enlarge / Close-up of logo for Tesla Solar, a home solar power generation solution offered by Tesla Motors, San Ramon, California, March 28, 2018. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images) (credit: Getty Images)

Tesla is planning to close 13 or 14 solar installation locations that were set up by SolarCity before Tesla purchased the company in 2016. Tesla will also end its partnership with Home Depot at the end of the year.

The new information was first reported by Reuters, which obtained internal emails and documents detailing the closures. A Tesla spokesperson told Ars that the closures are part of the layoffs it announced in early June.

An official statement from the company contended that Tesla's solar business is better served in its existing Tesla stores. "Tesla stores have some of the highest foot traffic of any retail space in the country, so this presents a unique benefit that is demonstrated by the growing number of Tesla vehicle customers who are also purchasing energy products through our stores,” the statement said.

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Supreme Court: Police Need Warrant for Mobile Location Data

Krebs on Security - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 15:30

The U.S. Supreme Court today ruled that the government needs to obtain a court-ordered warrant to gather location data on mobile device users. The decision is a major development for privacy rights, but experts say it may have limited bearing on the selling of real-time customer location data by the wireless carriers to third-party companies.

Image: Wikipedia.

At issue is Carpenter v. United States, which challenged a legal theory the Supreme Court outlined more than 40 years ago known as the “third-party doctrine.” The doctrine holds that people who voluntarily give information to third parties — such as banks, phone companies, email providers or Internet service providers (ISPs) — have “no reasonable expectation of privacy.”

That framework in recent years has been interpreted to allow police and federal investigators to obtain information — such as mobile location data — from third parties without a warrant. But in a 5-4 ruling issued today that flies in the face of the third-party doctrine, the Supreme Court cited “seismic shifts in digital technology” allowing wireless carriers to collect “deeply revealing” information about mobile users that should be protected by the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which is intended to shield Americans against unreasonable searches and seizures by the government.

Amy Howe, a reporter for SCOTUSblog.com, writes that the decision means police will generally need to get a warrant to obtain cell-site location information, a record of the cell towers (or other sites) with which a cellphone connected.

The ruling is no doubt a big win for privacy advocates, but many readers have been asking whether this case has any bearing on the sharing or selling of real-time customer location data by the mobile providers to third party companies. Last month, The New York times revealed that a company called Securus Technologies had been selling this highly sensitive real-time location information to local police forces across the United States, thanks to agreements the company had in place with the major mobile providers.

It soon emerged that Securus was getting its location data second-hand through a company called 3Cinteractive, which in turn was reselling data from California-based “location aggregator” LocationSmart. Roughly two weeks after The Times’ scoop, KrebsOnSecurity broke the news that anyone could look up the real time location data for virtually any phone number assigned by the major carriers, using a buggy try-before-you-buy demo page that LocationSmart had made available online for years to showcase its technology.

Since those scandals broke, LocationSmart disabled its promiscuous demo page. More importantly, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon all have said they are now in the process of terminating agreements with third-parties to share this real-time location data.

Still, there is no law preventing the mobile providers from hashing out new deals to sell this data going forward, and many readers here have expressed concerns that the carriers can and eventually will do exactly that.

So the question is: Does today’s Supreme Court ruling have any bearing whatsoever on mobile providers sharing location data with private companies?

According to SCOTUSblog’s Howe, the answer is probably “no.”

“[Justice] Roberts emphasized that today’s ruling ‘is a narrow one’ that applies only to cell-site location records,” Howe writes. “He took pains to point out that the ruling did not ‘express a view on matters not before us’ – such as obtaining cell-site location records in real time, or getting information about all of the phones that connected to a particular tower at a particular time. He acknowledged that law-enforcement officials might still be able to obtain cell-site location records without a warrant in emergencies, to deal with ‘bomb threats, active shootings, and child abductions.'”

However, today’s decision by the high court may have implications for companies like Securus which have marketed the ability to provide real-time mobile location data to law enforcement officials, according to Jennifer Lynch, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit digital rights advocacy group.

“The court clearly recognizes the ‘deeply revealing nature’ of location data and recognizes we have a privacy interest in this kind of information, even when it’s collected by a third party (the phone companies),” Lynch wrote in an email to KrebsOnSecurity. “I think Carpenter would have implications for the Securus context where the phone companies were sharing location data with non-government third parties that were then, themselves, making that data available to the government.”

Lynch said that in those circumstances, there is a strong argument the government would need to get a warrant to access the data (even if the information didn’t come directly from the phone company).

“However, Carpenter’s impact in other contexts — specifically in contexts where the government is not involved — is much less clear,” she added. “Currently, there aren’t any federal laws that would prevent phone companies from sharing data with non-government third parties, and the Fourth Amendment would not apply in that context.”

And there’s the rub: There is nothing in the current law that prevents mobile companies from sharing real-time location data with other commercial entities. For that reality to change, Congress would need to act. For more on the prospects of that happening and how we wound up here, check out my May 26 story, Why is Your Location Data No Longer Private?

The full Supreme Court opinion in Carpenter v. United States is available here (PDF).

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