The Morning After: Weekend Edition

Engadget - 1 hour 32 min ago
Hey, good morning! You look fabulous.Welcome to the weekend! Other than some highlights from last week, you can check out an Alphabet-backed smart city plan and Facebook's latest Friday night news dump.
Categories: Technology

Bite-sized, black-and-white game 'Minit' lands April 3rd

Engadget - 5 hours 51 min ago
A crew of indie veterans, including half of notable studio Vlambeer, will release Minit on April 3rd for Steam (PC), PS4 and Xbox One. In the monochromatic Lo-Fi title, players rushing out their front door to do as much adventuring as possible before...
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NASA wants your pictures of clouds to verify its satellites’ data

Engadget - Fri, 03/16/2018 - 22:47
NASA announced this week that it's looking for some citizen scientists to help out with a project. Six orbiting instruments make up NASA's Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) project and they are used to study Earth's climate and the...
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Facebook suspends Trump-linked data firm Cambridge Analytica

Engadget - Fri, 03/16/2018 - 20:58
Late Friday night, Facebook has announced it's suspending Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL) from its site. While you may not have heard of SCL, its political analytics firm Cambridge Analytica has made headlines in the last few years due to...
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Standalone Oculus Go headset could debut at Facebook's F8 event

Engadget - Fri, 03/16/2018 - 19:21
Last year Oculus teased its standalone "Go" VR headset saying it would go on sale for $199 early in 2018. Now Variety cites unnamed sources claiming that it will debut at Facebook's F8 conference May 1st. That should provide the kind of stage Zuckerb...
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Adrian Lamo, former hacker who turned in Chelsea Manning, dead at 37

Ars Technica - Fri, 03/16/2018 - 19:16

Enlarge / Lamo, left posing with fellow hacker friends Kevin Mitnick and Keven Poulsen circa 2001. (credit: Photograph by Matthew Griffiths)

Adrian Lamo, the former hacker who reported Chelsea Manning to US authorities for leaking hundreds of thousands of classified State Department records, has died at the age of 37, according to a family Facebook post and a report from ZDNet, which cited two of Lamo's family members and a county coroner.

"With great sadness and a broken heart I have to let know all of Adrian’s friends and acquittances that he is dead," his father, Mario Lamo, wrote in a Facebook post. "A bright mind and compassionate soul is gone, he was my beloved son."

It's not yet known how Lamo died.

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Karlie Kloss' coding camp covers more cities and languages this year

Engadget - Fri, 03/16/2018 - 17:37
Kode with Klossy, Karlie Kloss' coding camp for girls, is expanding this year. Last year, the program offered 15 camps in 12 cities, but this summer, it's running 50 camps in 25 cities and will teach 1,000 young women between the ages of 13 and 18 ab...
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Sega announces Sonic Mania Plus, hints at new Sonic “racing” game

Ars Technica - Fri, 03/16/2018 - 16:54


AUSTIN, Texas—Sega hosted a South By Southwest 2018 panel about all things Sonic the Hedgehog, and the panel began with good news for anyone wanting a physical version of last year's tremendous 2D throwback, Sonic Mania. Their wishes will be granted in the form of Sonic Mania Plus, a physical release for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch in "summer 2018" for $29.99.

Shortly after that announcement, Sega also offered a surprise "one more thing" about an apparent new Sonic racing game.

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Microsoft tests forcing Windows Mail users to open links in Edge

Engadget - Fri, 03/16/2018 - 16:46
Edge might be Windows 10's built-in browser, but it definitely isn't the most popular browser -- NetMarketShare reported just under 4 percent usage share as of February 2018, slipping well below Chrome's 59 percent. And now, it looks like the compan...
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Alcatel’s Android Go phone is headed to the US

Engadget - Fri, 03/16/2018 - 16:13
Two of the phones Alcatel revealed last month at MWC will be coming to the US, the company confirmed. One is the affordable Alcatel 1X is the brand's first to feature Android Go, a version of the OS customized for lower-performing hardware, while the...
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Apple’s App Store mysteriously went dark in Iran yesterday

Ars Technica - Fri, 03/16/2018 - 15:53

Enlarge / Tehran, the capital city of Iran. (credit: A.Davey via Creative Commons)

Yesterday, users in Iran lost access to Apple's App Store. When users attempted to connect or download apps, they received a message saying that the App Store was "unavailable in the country or region" in which they resided. The cessation of services began around noon GMT yesterday, and services resumed around 5:00am GMT this morning, according to social media posts and sources who spoke with Bleeping Computer. A virtual private network (VPN) could still reach the App Store normally.

Media coverage and social media posts were quick to speculate that the store's downtime was an Apple-imposed ban driven by US economic sanctions against Iran, as Apple is based in the US. However, we are not yet aware of evidence to support this. An accidental outage is also possible, as is a block imposed by Iran's government—Iran has previously blocked the Google Play store, though that block was later lifted. Apple has not responded to our requests for clarification.

Because of US sanctions, Apple has no formal presence or operation in Iran, and its App Store is not officially supported there. The company does not sell phones there, nor does it work with any vendors that do. It nevertheless had an 11-percent market share in the country as of last year, as Iranians have purchased millions of iPhones smuggled in from other countries. Iranian app developers have published apps to the App Store for use by Iranian iPhone owners.

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When China hoards its hackers everyone loses

Engadget - Fri, 03/16/2018 - 15:45
They say you don't notice something good until it's gone. With China's decision to restrict its information security researchers from participating in global hacking competitions, we're about to see what that looks like on the global "zero day" stage...
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Vanguard I has spent six decades in orbit, more than any other craft

Engadget - Fri, 03/16/2018 - 14:51
As of this month, the US satellite Vanguard I has spent 60 years in orbit and it remains the oldest man-made object in space. Vanguard I was the fourth satellite launched into orbit -- following the USSR's Sputnik I and II and the US' Explorer I. But...
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Avengers, assemble! Marvel drops new Infinity War trailer

Ars Technica - Fri, 03/16/2018 - 14:40

Enlarge (credit: Marvel Studios)

Marvel Studios is on quite the roll. Black Panther has already grossed over a billion dollars and doesn't look like it's done making money, and the studio's accountants must be rubbing their hands with glee as thoughts turn to the next tentpole release, Avengers: Infinity War. That movie opens on April 27, and on Friday, Marvel dropped a new trailer on us:

Since many readers might not be able to watch the trailer at work, I've pulled some images into the following gallery. You'll need to provide your own stirring Avengers theme music by humming along, and it goes without saying that you shouldn't look at it if you're at all sensitive to spoilers. Really, I mean it; if you look at those pictures, you've got nothing to complain about other than your own lack of self-control!

Marvel Studios

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‘ARK: Survival Evolved’ brings dinosaurs to your phone this Spring

Engadget - Fri, 03/16/2018 - 14:24
Open-world survival game ARK: Survival Evolved was one of the bigger early access games back in 2015, eventually launching a couple of years later on PS4, Xbox One and Steam and gathering 13 million players in the process. Now the title is coming to...
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Steve Jobs’ 1973 job application fetches $174,000 at auction

Ars Technica - Fri, 03/16/2018 - 14:15

Enlarge (credit: RR Auction)

A handwritten job application from Apple co-founder Steve Jobs has sold for more than $174,000, according to auction house RR Auction. The company told Reuters that the winning bidder is an Internet entrepreneur from England who doesn't want to be publicly identified.

The single-page document, dated to 1973, doesn't identify what job Jobs was applying for. But it provides a window into how Jobs—who would have been 17 or 18 at the time—saw himself.

Jobs identifies himself as an English literature major at Reed College. He officially dropped out of Reed after a single semester in the fall of 1972, but he continued staying with friends on campus and auditing classes in 1973.

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New York power companies can now charge Bitcoin miners more

Ars Technica - Fri, 03/16/2018 - 13:51

Enlarge / Cryptocurrency mining in operation. (credit: Getty Images)

On Wednesday, the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) ruled that municipal power companies could charge higher electricity rates to cryptocurrency miners who try to benefit from the state's abundance of cheap hydroelectric power.

Over the years, Bitcoin's soaring price has drawn entrepreneurs to mining. Bitcoin mining enterprises have become massive endeavors, consuming megawatts of power on some grids. To minimize the cost of that considerable power draw, mining companies have tried to site their operations in towns with cheap electricity, both in the US and around the world. In the US, regions with the cheapest energy tend to be small towns with hydroelectric power. (Politico recently wrote extensively about the Bitcoin mining boom in Washington state's mid-Columbia valley, a hotspot for cheap hydro.)

But mining booms in small US towns are not always met with approval. A group of 36 municipal power authorities in northern and western New York petitioned the PSC for permission to raise electricity rates for cryptocurrency miners because their excessive power use has been taxing very small local grids and causing rates to rise for other customers.

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Microsoft is giving away 'Sea of Thieves' with Xbox purchases

Engadget - Fri, 03/16/2018 - 13:49
Microsoft is gearing up to make playing Sea of Thieves as easy as possible. If you've heard all the hype surrounding the cartoony pirate simulator but don't already own an Xbox (or PC) to play it on, for a limited time, when you buy an Xbox One X you...
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US spy lab hopes to geotag every outdoor photo on social media

Ars Technica - Fri, 03/16/2018 - 13:30

Enlarge / Take a selfie in front of your new hideout? IARPA's Finder program aims to turn that photo into a kaboom. (credit: U.S. Army photo by Spc. Jacob Krone)

Imagine if someone could scan every image on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, then instantly determine where each was taken. The ability to combine this location data with information about who appears in those photos—and any social media contacts tied to them—would make it possible for government agencies to quickly track terrorist groups posting propaganda photos. (And, really, just about anyone else.)

That's precisely the goal of Finder, a research program of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency (IARPA),the Office of the Director of National Intelligence's dedicated research organization.

For many photos taken with smartphones (and with some consumer cameras), geolocation information is saved with the image by default. The location is stored in the Exif (Exchangable Image File Format) data of the photo itself unless geolocation services are turned off. If you have used Apple's iCloud photo store or Google Photos, you've probably created a rich map of your pattern of life through geotagged metadata. However, this location data is pruned off for privacy reasons when images are uploaded to some social media services, and privacy-conscious photographers (particularly those concerned about potential drone strikes) will purposely disable geotagging on their devices and social media accounts.

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iPad users can beta test Microsoft’s Edge browser now

Engadget - Fri, 03/16/2018 - 13:21
Microsoft has slowly been rolling out its Edge browser to various devices; it was officially released for iPhones back in November, with the promise that an iPad version was on the way. Now, it's finally here -- but only in beta. Microsoft Edge teste...
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